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Microsoft office in Washington, DC, metro area. Credit: Mike Scarcella/ NLJ

Microsoft Corp. on Tuesday became the first major U.S. company to publicly support a federal effort to restrict employment agreements that prevent sexual harassment victims from going to court, marking the most visible example of the reckoning that companies large and small are experiencing amid the #MeToo movement.

The company announced it will end its practice of mandatory arbitration, and Microsoft said it will support pending federal legislation that confronts this common employment practice.

Microsoft in the Trump era has been particularly outspoken in support of immigration and sexual orientation equality, and against government surveillance and secrecy.

Brad Smith

“The easiest mistake any employer can make is to assume that ‘this could never happen here,’” Brad Smith, the company’s chief legal officer, said in a blog post Tuesday. “While it’s natural to hope and believe that’s the case, one of the fundamental lessons of recent months is that people’s voices need to be heard if their problems are to be addressed.”

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