Lawmakers push Microsoft to ban private arbitration in all discrimination cases

Lawmakers push Microsoft to ban private arbitration in all discrimination cases
© Camille Fine

Lawmakers in the House are calling on Microsoft to extend its ban on private arbitration in cases sexual harassment and gender discrimination to all forms of discrimination.

“We write today in support Microsoft’s decision to eliminate forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment and urge you to take similar action regarding cases of workplace discrimination whether they be race, gender identification or expression, sexual orientation, or religion,” Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) members Reps. Robin KellyRobin Lynne KellySenate panel advances bill to protect government devices against cyber threats House panel advances bill to create cybersecurity standards for government IT devices The Congressional Black Caucus: America stands to lose a lot under TrumpCare MORE (D-Ill.), Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanOvernight Energy: Interior chief says climate response falls on Congress | Bernhardt insists officials will complete offshore drilling plans | Judge rules EPA must enforce Obama landfill pollution rules Trump Interior chief says climate change response falls on Congress Interior chief says offshore drilling plan not 'indefinitely sidelined' MORE (D-N.J.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) wrote in a letter addressed to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella.

Microsoft this week announced that it would ban forced arbitration clauses — in which legal disputes are required to be settled privately outside of court — regarding sexual harassment and gender discrimination cases.

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"While we commend Microsoft for steps it has taken to prevent workplace discrimination, more can be done," the three lawmakers wrote.

The letter comes as more high profile men are being accused of sexually harassing women in the workplace.

Though many industries have been affected, tech has reckoned with the implications of its own culture following the revelations of alleged rampant mistreatment of women at Uber. The scrutiny has led to top venture capitalists like Shervin Pishevar and Justin Caldbeck stepping down following accusations of sexual harassment.

The letter also comes after the Congressional Black Caucus aired its frustrations with the lack of diversity and treatment of minority workers within the technology industry.

After the CBC pressed Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg on the matter during a meeting in October, two CBC members Reps. Barbara LeeBarbara Jean LeeThe Trump administration's plan to change the poverty line would hurt communities who need help the most GOP rep: Trump needs to retaliate against Iran to deter other hostile nations Democrats to pass spending bill with Hyde despite 2020 uproar MORE (D-Calif.) and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldNancy Pelosi fends off impeachment wave — for now House Democrats press leaders to start Trump impeachment WHIP LIST: Number of Democrats backing Trump impeachment inquiry rises MORE (D-N.C.) traveled to California to discuss diversity in tech directly with firms in Silicon Valley.

Butterfield and Lee slammed the companies for their lack of work in the area during their trip.