STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Microsoft lifts policy that silences sexual harassment claims

Microsoft is ending a practice that prevented employees from discussing their sexual harassment cases.The comp...

Posted: Dec 19, 2017 8:19 PM
Updated: Dec 19, 2017 8:19 PM

Microsoft is ending a practice that prevented employees from discussing their sexual harassment cases.

The company said Tuesday it is eliminating forced arbitration agreements that required staffers to settle cases outside of the courtroom. The policy -- not unusual for businesses -- keeps claims out of the public eye and creates a silencing effect.

The move comes amid a growing outcry to eliminate forced arbitration agreements, which waive the right to sue or take part in class action lawsuits.

Earlier this month, senators Kirsten Gillibrand and Lindsey Graham introduced bipartisan legislation calling to void forced arbitration agreements, rendering them ineffective. They estimate that 60 million Americans are subject to forced arbitration clauses as part of their employment contracts.

Microsoft said Tuesday that it is the first Fortune 100 company that has signed on to endorse the legislation.

Related: How do you report sexual harassment when there's no HR?

"Forced arbitration is a harasser's best friend," said Gretchen Carlson in an announcement about the legislation.

Carlson, who filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes, has advocated for end to the practice.

"It keeps harassment complaints and settlements secret," she said in the statement. "It allows harassers to stay in their jobs, even as victims are pushed out or fired. It silences other victims who may have stepped forward if they'd known. It's time we as a nation -- together -- in bipartisan fashion give a voice back to victims."

Related: Susan Fowler fought harassment at Uber. Now she's fighting arbitration deals

According to Microsoft's President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith, the decision to reflect on its own policies came after a conversation with Senator Graham in Washington, D.C.

In a blog post on Tuesday, Smith said the company never enforced the arbitration provision relating to sexual harassment, even though "a small segment" of employees were required to sign contracts with them.

"We concluded that if we were to advocate for legislation ending arbitration requirements for sexual harassment, we should not have a contractual requirement for our own employees that would obligate them to arbitrate sexual harassment claims," he wrote.

"Because the silencing of voices has helped perpetuate sexual harassment, the country should guarantee that people can go to court to ensure these concerns can always be heard."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 205030

Reported Deaths: 2730
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah40113612
Washington26647247
Marion23258322
Clackamas18748234
Lane13772158
Jackson11420146
Deschutes993180
Umatilla851786
Linn550479
Klamath475377
Yamhill474779
Polk393755
Douglas378580
Malheur359763
Josephine352972
Benton323922
Jefferson235738
Coos215737
Columbia188629
Union148724
Wasco143429
Lincoln141221
Crook127423
Hood River121633
Morrow115016
Clatsop10268
Baker99215
Curry68510
Tillamook6604
Grant5477
Lake4667
Harney4149
Wallowa1945
Gilliam751
Sherman661
Wheeler351
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3801728

Reported Deaths: 63193
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles124612924434
Riverside3013124618
San Bernardino2989764788
San Diego2812033770
Orange2726505103
Santa Clara1198942175
Kern1106041400
Sacramento1071991718
Fresno1027831720
Alameda893401285
Ventura815541028
San Joaquin744011432
Contra Costa70276810
Stanislaus631901068
Tulare49758849
Monterey43791419
San Mateo42604581
San Francisco37189555
Santa Barbara34572460
Solano33569266
Merced32253474
Sonoma30688323
Imperial28799741
Placer23345298
Kings23166247
San Luis Obispo21405261
Madera16586245
Santa Cruz16202208
Marin14170229
Yolo14118212
Shasta12580232
Butte12576194
El Dorado10339116
Napa998680
Sutter9614112
Yuba644850
San Benito609563
Lassen577524
Tehama571663
Nevada487875
Humboldt441546
Mendocino427450
Tuolumne418569
Amador372147
Lake355245
Glenn242527
Siskiyou238637
Colusa227918
Calaveras220056
Del Norte14488
Inyo143438
Mono12954
Plumas7356
Modoc5344
Mariposa4617
Trinity4165
Sierra1130
Alpine890
Unassigned330
Medford
Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Brookings
Mostly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 57°
Crater Lake
Mostly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 42°
Feels Like: 70°
Grants Pass
Partly Cloudy
70° wxIcon
Hi: 72° Lo: 57°
Feels Like: 70°
Klamath Falls
Mostly Cloudy
72° wxIcon
Hi: 70° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 72°
One more cooler-than-average day tomorrow
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events