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 KellyWorries mount as cybersecurity agency struggles amid shutdown Hillicon Valley: Apple cutting iPhone production | Senior citizens more likely to share fake news on Facebook | Graham says AG nominee will let Mueller finish probe | Dems warn shutdown hurting IT recruitment Hillicon Valley: Marriott cuts breach estimates, but says millions of passports exposed | Los Angeles sues Weather Channel app over data collection | Bill would create office to fight Chinese threats to US tech | German politicians hit by major breach MORE (D-Ill.), Bonnie Watson ColemanBonnie Watson ColemanBaseball legend Frank Robinson, first black manager in MLB, dies at 83 Trump will give State of Union to sea of opponents Dem lawmaker to bring former Trump property undocumented worker to State of the Union 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 LeeBarbara Lee endorses Kamala Harris's 2020 bid Dems unveil bill to let VA doctors prescribe medical marijuana Political world mourns Dingell, longest-serving member of Congress MORE (D-Calif.) and G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldWinners and losers in the border security deal Pelosi runs tight ship as more stormy waters await Lean job market for Dems on K Street 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.