Common Employment Issues Faced By Microsoft Employees

Microsoft is one of the largest employers in the Seattle area. Microsoft and many other companies in the technology industry have attempted to portray themselves as forward-thinking companies that treat all employees equally and fairly. In recent years, however, Microsoft employees have brought several employment issues to the public’s attention through lawsuits brought for discrimination, harassment, and unfair severance packages. 

Microsoft employees who’ve experienced discrimination may have a compelling legal claim. Sapphire Legal, PLLC has extensive experience enforcing workers’ legal rights all across the Puget Sound. Contact Sapphire Legal today so we can help you too.  

Age Discrimination Claims in Microsoft

Age discrimination is a reality in every industry, but it seems to be especially prevalent among large technology companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. According to the research firm Payscale, the median age of Microsoft employees is 33 compared to the median age of American workers overall, which is 42. The pressure for technology companies to hire younger employees is real and the disparate impact that has on employees over the age of 40 is a common issue 

The prevalence of age discrimination in technology companies is demonstrated by the fact that applicants and employees of the largest technology companies in Silicon Valley sued their employers at least 226 times for age discrimination from 2008-2015. This does not count the claims that settled prior to a lawsuit ever being filed. Google recently settled an age discrimination lawsuit for $11 million when over 200 Google job applicants over the age of 40 filed a class-action lawsuit alleging Google failed to hire them because of their age, according to Forbes. 

Microsoft employees who are 40 or older and have been harassed, fired, denied a promotion, or not hired may have a legal claim for age discrimination. The federal Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1976 (ADEA) and the Washington Law Against Discrimination (WLAD) prohibit employers from discriminating against applicants and employees based on their age. Employers may not discriminate based on age in any way while engaging in any of the following employment practices:

  • Determining whether or not to hire an employee
  • Terminating the employment of an employee
  • Reducing the pay of an employee
  • Determining the employee’s salary or hourly rate
  • Segregating an employee from other employees

Microsoft employees who are subjected to age discrimination may seek compensation and other remedies from Microsoft. At Sapphire Legal, we have experience effectively negotiating legal claims with Microsoft. We also are not afraid to sue Microsoft in court.   

Contact Sapphire Legal to discuss the best way to proceed in an age discrimination claim against Microsoft and how to best handle the situation if you are an active Microsoft employee.

Severance Packages that Include a General Release of Liability

Microsoft and other large companies often conduct significant employee layoffs when needed in order to provide a benefit to the company. Microsoft will frequently ask their laid-off employees to sign a severance agreement, which often contains a general release of liability by the employee. 

In signing a general release of liability, the employee agrees not to make any legal claims or file a lawsuit against Microsoft for any reason. Many times, a general release of liability will also prohibit the employee from recruiting someone else to file a lawsuit against the company. In exchange for waiving the right to sue the employer, the company offers employee compensation. The severance agreement might also include other terms such as the payment of health insurance premiums and a non-disparagement clause.  Microsoft frequently requires employees to agree to a no-rehire provision, which means that the employee will never apply for a position at Microsoft again.  

Given the many terms and conditions in a severance agreement, employees should speak with a skilled and experienced employment law attorney before signing a severance agreement. Accepting compensation and other benefits outlined in the severance package is tempting, but waiving the right to sue Microsoft may have seriously negative consequences. If an employee suspects that they were terminated on illegal or discriminatory reasons, he or she should not sign the severance package agreement. Signing a general release of liability prohibits employees from seeking compensation for discrimination based on race, gender, disability, or any other protected class.

Severance Agreements Often Contain Non-Compete Provisions 

Microsoft employees must read the terms of their severance agreement thoroughly before signing it. Severance packages often include confidentiality and non-solicitation clauses that restrict an employee from contacting clients or prospective clients of the employer for a significant period of time. 

Should Microsoft Employees Attempt to Negotiate Severance?

Attorney Kristi Favard has extensive experience negotiating severance packages on behalf of her clients and with Microsoft. She knows their severance policies and can help employees navigate through Microsoft’s language to reach a resolution that is fair to the employee. Moreover, she will evaluate whether the employee has other legal claims that justify a greater severance amount. If Microsoft terminated a person’s employment based on race, gender, disability, or another protected class, the employee would have more negotiating power. 

When negotiation isn’t an option, she will advise employees on all of their options, including filing a lawsuit and help them make the right decisions in terms of seeking compensation in an employment-based lawsuit against Microsoft.

Learn More About Your Rights and Legal Options Today

Unfortunately, discrimination continues to occur at Microsoft and other large technology companies. If Microsoft engaged in age-based discrimination against you or any other type of unlawful discrimination, you might have a legal claim for compensation. 

Attorney Kristi Favard has helped Microsoft employees fight for their rights in many areas of employment law. Whether you’re facing discrimination in the workplace or you’ve been laid off and are concerned about accepting Microsoft’s severance agreement, she can help. Contact Sapphire Legal, PLLC to schedule your initial consultation today.