By Jonathan Stempel
(Reuters) – Microsoft Corp <MSFT.O> on Tuesday denied a recent suggestion by the U.S. Department of Labor that its plan to bolster diversity, including by investing $150 million and doubling the number of Black employees in high-ranking positions, amounted to illegal race discrimination.
The denial came in a blog post responding to a letter Microsoft received last week from the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs concerning an initiative announced by Chief Executive Satya Nadella on June 23.
General Counsel Dev Stahlkopf said the Labor Department letter suggested that Microsoft’s initiative “appears to imply that employment action may be taken on the basis of race,” and asked the company to prove its efforts to improve opportunities were not illegal race-based decisions.
“Emphatically, they are not,” Stahlkopf wrote.
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