Amid the controversies that arose earlier last year at Micosoft U.K., the company has now updated its code of ethics to urge employees to moderate their drinking and behavior, The Telegraph reports. A culture of "excessive drunkeness" and lewd behaviour among senior staff at Microsoft in Britain has apparently been laid bare in a £10 million High Court battle between its UK chief and his former second in command.
Microsoft employees L-R, Martina Redmond, Emma Cloney, and Zobia Chughtai
This comes in response to allegations involved Microsoft U.K's GM, Simon Negus who was hired to follow in Gordon Frazer's footsteps, but was dismissed in 2010 amid allegations that he had kissed a colleague, Toni Knowlson, at a company party in Atlanta and lied about it during a subsequent inquiry.
Negus, was accused of making of sexual misconduct and harassment towards female members of staff culminating with him "flirting and touching" Miss Knowlson, asking colleague Zobia Chughtai to "flutter her eyelashes", and inviting Martina Redmond to stand on a chair so that people could see her short skirt.
Despite not being able to prove the allegations, Microsoft dismissed Mr Negus claiming he had lied during the investigation and took him to court demanding he return £75,000 of a £225,000 "golden hello" bonus paid on the condition he would stay for three years. Negus, who's married and denies the claims, is now counter-suing the computer company for 15 years' loss of earnings, harassment and wrongful dismissal.
His evidence about the Microsoft Global Exchange conference paints a picture of wild behaviour, fuelled by "unlimited quantities" of vodka and Jagermeister. According to the court papers, one director was so "ridiculously drunk" he followed Emma Cloney, a manager, into the ladies' lavatories. Another executive was "so p***** he could not remember a thing".
"The alcohol made freely available in unlimited quantities included neat vodka which could be drunk from an ice fountain, and a very strong German liquor called Jagermeister," the papers added. Mr Negus, who claims he left a more senior position at Dell because of assurances he would eventually succeed Mr Frazer at Microsoft, was ranked as the top performing "level 69" partner at the company worldwide, posing a potential threat to his superior.
In the updated, code of ethics, the Redmond company now encourages staff to "enjoy themselves, but not too much." Namely, Microsoft "expects event organizers and participants to exercise common sense and good judgment when alcoholic beverages are served at social events." And, that "event sponsors should ensure threat alternative forms of transportation are available," and that "Any participant who becomes inebriated should be prevented from consuming alcoholic beverages and from operating a vehicle," reports The Telegraph