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Microsoft announce new policies aimed at improving employee relations and experience

Today, Microsoft announced new U.S. based policies and practices related to noncompetition clauses, confidentiality agreements in dispute resolution, pay transparency in Microsoft’s hiring practices, and the initiation of a civil rights audit.  The new policies, announced by Amy Pannoni,  Deputy General Counsel, HR Legal for Corporate External and Legal Affairs and Amy Coleman, Corporate Vice President, Human Resources for Corporate Functions and Global Employee Relations are aimed at improving employee relationships and enhancing Microsoft’s workplace culture.

Empowering employee mobility: Microsoft announced that they are removing noncompetition clauses from Microsoft’s U.S. employee agreements, and will not enforce existing noncompetition clauses in the U.S., with the exception of Microsoft’s most senior leadership (Partners and Executives), effective today. In practice, what this means is those U.S. employees will not be restricted by a noncompete clause in seeking employment with another company who may be considered a Microsoft competitor. All employees remain accountable to Microsoft’s standards of business conduct and other obligations to protect Microsoft’s confidential information. 

Fostering a safe space for concerns:  Microsoft has heard feedback that they can further strengthen Microsoft’s workplace culture and encourage employees to come forward with workplace concerns by addressing nondisclosure clauses. To that end, Microsoft’s U.S. settlement and separation agreements no longer include confidentiality language that prohibits workers from disclosing alleged conduct that they perceive is illegal discrimination, harassment, retaliation, sexual assault, or a wage and hour violation occurring in the workplace. 

Increasing pay transparency:  Microsoft today announced a commitment to publicly disclose salary ranges in all of Microsoft’s internal and external job postings across the U.S., beginning no later than January 2023. 

Conducting a civil rights audit: Microsoft is committing to a civil rights audit of its workforce policies and practices. This audit, to be conducted by a third party, will be guided by U.S. civil rights law and Microsoft values with the purpose of identifying areas of opportunity for Microsoft to address. they commit to complete this audit in FY23 and to publish a summary report and follow-on actions. 

Microsoft says they believe these workforce initiatives are positive changes for Microsoft’s employees and reflect Microsoft’s principle that people are the heart and soul of Microsoft’s company and Microsoft’s number one priority. 

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