Over the past few months, you might have noticed recurring news stories about sexual harassment in the US. Microsoft has learnt its lessons from the past sexual harassment complaints raised by its employees and hence they are now becoming the first Fortune 100 company to endorse bipartisan legislation (S. 2203, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017) that will ensure that every person facing sexual harassment in the workplace can make their case in a public court, rather than behind closed doors in private arbitration. Even though private arbitration solved most issues, it is clearly not sufficient for many sexual harassment cases. Microsoft’s latest move will guarantee that people can go to court to ensure their concerns can always be heard.
“At Microsoft we’ve never enforced an arbitration provision relating to sexual harassment, and we pride ourselves on having an open-door policy that encourages employees to raise any such concerns internally so they can be investigated thoroughly and addressed appropriately. But we also reviewed and found that we have contractual clauses requiring pre-dispute arbitration for harassment claims in employment agreements for a small segment of our employee population,” said Brad Smith, President and Chief Legal Officer at Microsoft.
Read more about this announcement here.