Microsoft Corp sent a request received by a federal court to trash the U.S. labor board ruling for extending the responsibility of firms over workers’ contracts, citing potential conflicts would certainly affect the technology firm.

The National Labor Relations Board later made decisions on the definition of “joint employer”, which could oblige more companies to bargain and could have liability for employees that were recruited by contractors.  

As part of the decision, it has sent the joint employment test to expand, whether a firm had a “direct and immediate” control against employment conditions of another firm’s employees, to embrace indirect or unexercised control. Thus, the case is now before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.  

A joint brief was submitted by Microsoft and industry group HR Policy Association on Tuesday, opposing the NLRB ruling in a case relative with California’s waste management firm Browning-Ferris Industries – a Republic Services Inc subsidiary.  


During its brief, Microsoft said that the 2015 ruling was too wide, and the decision made would discourage the company, along with other firms from directing contractors to deliver benefits to their workers. In addition, the company remained threatened as it might become a joint employer under the new standard.

However, there were comments from Business groups which says that it could disrupt business-to-business relations, including those companies that are related with vendors, staffing agencies, subcontractors and subsidiaries, and franchises.

Silicon Valley firms regularly use contract workers for tasks relative to security and writing software.

Microsoft’s Employees

The company had around 113,000 employees last year. Apparently, a spokeswoman refrained from giving comments on how many temporary and contract staffs it has recruited, but there were rumors with sources saying there were only 81,000 employed staff last year.


It was reported that Browning-Ferris was a joint employer of employed workers through a staffing agency at a recycling facility, thus it had to negotiate with staffs, according to a 2015 ruling of the labor board.

Browning-Ferris, therefore, highlighted that the U.S. labor board standard for “joint employment” is so wide as well as vague, in which restructuring business relationships among contractors is impossible.

Furthermore, President Barack Obama acknowledged Microsoft for limiting its work contracts to suppliers who provide staffs at least 15 days of paid leave in an annual basis, which is in fact a part of their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy.

"Companies with existing CSR initiatives now have a strong incentive to terminate them, and others considering such policies will be more likely to table their plans," Microsoft said of the consequences of the 2015 ruling.