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Women Claim Bill Gates’ Ventures Contractor Asked Invasive Pre-Employment Questions

Women Claim Bill Gates’ Ventures Contractor Asked Invasive Pre-Employment Questions

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Microsoft co-founder and billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates has had a rough past few years, and it looks like things won’t be easing up any time soon. According to The Wall Street Journal, a contractor hired by Gates Ventures, a private personal services company founded by Bill Gates, asked invasive and inappropriate questions to female job applicants.  The report, which describes the contractor’s alleged process as “extreme vetting,” claims the questions included things like what kind of pornography applicants watched and if they had ever danced for money, as well as whether they’d ever had an affair, STDs, or used drugs.

The alleged questioning was, The Wall Street Journal claims on behalf of unnamed sources, intended to determine whether the applicants’ history left them open to blackmail. The report goes on to claim that prior male applicants contacted about the story didn’t experience the same questioning, but as the WSJ notes, there’s no way to say — for now, at least — whether some men were faced with the same questions.

Gates’ company denies knowledge of such questions

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In a statement about the allegations, a Gates Ventures’ spokesperson told The Wall Street Journal, “We have never received information from any vendor or interviewee in our 15+ year history that inappropriate questions were asked during the screening process. We can confirm, that after a comprehensive review of our records, no employment offer has ever been rescinded based on information of this nature.”

The report names Concentric Advisors as the security firm that conducted these alleged applicant assessments. In response to the claims, the company said that while applicants may volunteer such information, it never asked for those details. Perhaps more importantly, the WSJ claims to have reviewed documentation related to the matter. One document is described as a consent form for a “behavioral assessment” that would include things like prior drug and alcohol use. The document allegedly states that the assessment would be used to help determine the applicant’s “suitability for employment.”

At the heart of the matter are concerns that such questioning, if it took place, could prove to be a violation of employment laws. Concentric Advisors told the WSJ that it follows laws as they relate to pre-employment screening, and a leaked email sent to Gates Ventures employees reportedly says that the company was unaware of any questions of this nature being asked. 

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