Employees at Microsoft won’t be subject to non-compete agreements anymore, the company announced in a Wednesday blog post.

The company will also remove non-disclosure clauses from settlements and separation agreements, publicize salary ranges for U.S. jobs starting in 2023, and conduct a a third-party diversity audit in fiscal year 2023.

Axing non-compete clauses, which prevent employees from working for a competitor, gives workers greater mobility and could allow Microsoft employees to take greater advantage of today’s competitive labor market. A 2019 Washington state law prohibited the use of non-compete agreements for workers making under $100,000 annually. Microsoft’s new policy goes one step further and removes non-compete agreements for everyone except “Partner” and “Executive” level employees.

Eliminating non-disclosure or confidentiality agreements from separation agreements and settlements would allow workers to speak freely about any harassment, discrimination, retaliation, sexual assault or wage theft they experienced at work.


The post’s authors, deputy general counsel Amy Pannoni and corporate vice president Amy Coleman, acknowledged that Microsoft still has much work to do to improve company culture. Wednesday’s policy changes come on the heels of President Brad Smith’s abrupt announcement that workers “will never need to organize” and months after its pledge to review its policies on sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Seattle Times reporting in 2018 found complaints against the company that describe a culture of casual sexism, a male-dominated hierarchy and poor resolution of grievances.

Microsoft Philanthropies underwrites some Seattle Times journalism projects.