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Microsoft modifies temporary worker contracts

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Microsoft has complied with a court order requiring it to remove from its employment contracts clauses requiring temporary workers waive any rights to damages from forthcoming legal action against the company's employment practices. The order was issued on 14 January by US District Judge John Coughenour during court action instigated by a group of temporary workers who claimed their contracts were unfair (see Contractors' lawyer tells MS to withdraw 'invalid' contracts). Microsoft does not consider such workers as regular company employees and so their contracts exclude them "for the purposes of receiving compensation, insurance or benefits from Microsoft". Up to 6000 staff -- one third of the workforce -- at its Richmond HQ are classified as temporary. The case's plaintiffs allege that many so-called "temporary workers" in fact have worked at Microsoft for considerable lengths of time, and believe that, for that reason, they should receive similar benefits to their full-time colleagues. ®

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