SEATTLE (CN) - Calling Microsoft "a lawless place," a longtime worker claims in a class action that he was fired in retaliation for reporting supervisors' misconduct. He claims the company "routinely produces and/or condones deficient investigations, covers up alleged misconduct, mischaracterizes evidence, refuses to preserve or provide pertinent facts and data, protects the perpetrators and retaliates against victims."
Craig Bartholomew worked for Microsoft for 21 years, he says in his complaint in King County Court. He says he was fired after complaining that his supervisors had created a "dysfunctional environment that was harming Microsoft and risking certain of its programs and objectives."
"Microsoft has twice tried to cover up what really happened, first wrongly claiming his termination was a layoff or RIF. Neither was or is true," according to the complaint.
According to his complaint: "Microsoft can be a lawless place. Courts have found that its key executives have violated the law and/or sought to circumvent court rulings. Powerful employees, because of their perceived value to the company, has (sic) been protected. Employees who have reported misconduct by senior management have been punished or fired based on trumped-up charges.
"Microsoft routinely misrepresents to current and prospective employees the companies' (sic) practices regarding equal opportunity, fair treatment, equal income and promotion opportunities, severance/separation packages, and its 'non-retaliatory' policies."
Bartholomew claims that Microsoft's own studies show that "supervisors have retaliated against subordinates who report misconduct to HR" and that "a handful of executives" have decided not to fix the problem.
"This case is about the systematic practices of Microsoft's Human Resources (HR) department that have injured thousands of its former employees and continue to injure current employees," the complaint states.
Bartholomew seeks punitive damages for breach of contract, misrepresentation, and negligent retention, plus wants front pay, back pay, and an injunction.
He is represented by Michael Helgren with McNaul Ebel Nawrot & Helgren.
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