Microsoft Resolves O365 Charity Licensing Issue for Churches
Original post by Ministry Business Services, Inc on October 12, 2015
Many Christian churches and ministries have been uncomfortable with the Microsoft charity licensing program for Office 365 because it requires them to certify they don’t discriminate in their employment practices regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people. On October 8, 2015, Microsoft addressed these concerns and posted changes to its policy on their website.
The Original Problem? Microsoft previously placed this restriction for its Office 365 (O365) charity licensing program:
“Organizations that engage in discrimination in [employment practices] based on… gender identity or expression… [or] sexual orientation… other than as allowed by law are not eligible to participate in this program.”
Many organizations that discriminated in these areas applied for the program and were approved. The reason they were approved is that Microsoft felt this was a self-certification. Microsoft never intended to police it, since even Microsoft couldn’t identify exactly where the law was on these issues. Its intent was simply to be inclusive.