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Microsoft Leads the Way: Harassment Claims Shouldn’t Be Forced Into Arbitration

Dec. 19, 2017

Microsoft Leads the Way: Harassment Claims Shouldn’t Be Forced Into Arbitration

Statement of Remington A. Gregg, Counsel for Civil Justice and Consumer Rights, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division

Note: Microsoft Corp. said on Tuesday that it has eliminated forced arbitration agreements with employees who make harassment claims and that it would support federal legislation that would ban such agreements.

Public Citizen applauds Microsoft for leading the way in removing forced arbitration clauses from its employment contracts. Forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts are particularly insidious because they allow companies to sweep systemic issues of discrimination and harassment under the rug and keep them hidden from public scrutiny. These clauses silence victims and embolden harassers, which is why the clauses must be removed from employment contracts.

We are at a moment of reckoning in the private sector, in Congress and in society. Removing these abusive provisions from employment contracts not only is the right thing to do; it’s good for recruiting and retaining top talent and therefore good for business.

Public Citizen is committed to removing obstacles (PDF) for workers that prevent them from bringing claims of workplace harassment and discrimination to light, and this is a fight we’re committed to waging for the long term.

Microsoft absolutely deserves praise for this reform, but it still relies on forced arbitration provisions for consumers and apparently employees. It should follow today’s action by ending the use of forced arbitration altogether.