A 38-year old British game designer is suing Software giant Microsoft for alleged homophobic abuse he suffered while working for one of the company's gaming divisions.
According to the Telegraph, Jamie Durrant is looking for £45,000 for hurt feelings and lost pay and claimed he was taunted about his sexual orientation at his place of work.
He recalled being called nicknames like "Fag Boy Jim" and found derogatory messages circulating with headings that included "I'm Jim and I'm Gay", "Me and My Favourite Men" and "Ladies Are Bad".
While working for Microsoft's Lionhead Studios, Durrant claims that he did regularly made his grievances known to the Microsoft's UK's human resources department and agreed not to raise a formal complaint.
Durrant, who earns £50,000 designing video games for Microsoft's popular Xbox 360 console, also argues that Microsoft doesn't have the adequate framework to deal with cases of homophobic harassment.
Microsoft was accused last month of deliberately kicking a woman from the Xbox Live gaming community after it was found out she was a lesbian. The move was widely condemned but the company maintained its stance saying that the "no gamer is allowed to use the text or comments that anyhow indicates the sexual orientation of the gamer".
Ironically, Microsoft has been commended in the past by the Human Rights Campaign, an American gay rights group that focuses on transgender issues, which updated the company's Corporate Equality Index to a perfect 100 percent. Furthermore, there exists a group called Gay and Lesbian Employees at Microsoft or GLEAM.
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Microsoft is walking on a tight rope. The latest case of this game designer points to a systemic anti-gay atmosphere within the company, something that Microsoft will surely try to dispel. Microsoft has been working very hard in America to make sure that all its employees are treated equally anywhere in the world. It seems though that there might be a few loopholes in its strategy.