[Representational Image]Reuters

A female ex-employee of technology giant Microsoft filed a lawsuit against the company on Wednesday alleging that it discriminated against women in salary hikes and promotions.

Katherine Moussouris, a former technician at Microsoft, said that she got "low bonus" for complaining about sexual harassment.

The company gave promotions to men who were less qualified than her, as supervisors did not like her "manner or style," she claims.

The Washington-based technology major, which ranks its employees based on performance evaluations, "routinely gave female workers lower ratings based on subjective criteria," alleged the lawsuit.

"Microsoft systematically undervalues the efforts and achievements of its female technical employees," Reuters quoted Adam Klein, an employee of law firm Outten & Golden in New York, which is representing Moussouris, as saying.

Moussouris worked for Microsoft for seven years and quit the job in 2014 after "supervisors failed to address what she claimed was pervasive discrimination," according to the lawsuit.

Last year, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella came under fire as he said that women in technology jobs should not ask for pay hikes. He said that women workers should keep "faith" that the employers will pay them "fairly."

Nadella later apologised for the above suggestions made at an industry conference and maintained that "the company paid men and women equally."

Compensation of male employees in the US tech industry was nearly 24% more than that of female colleagues, a data from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics showed.

Microsoft, which has a headcount of about 117,000 employees currently, may end up paying over $5 million in damages for discriminating against the female workers.

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