Google is finally ending forced arbitration for its employees. These changes will go into effect for both current and future Google employees on March 21.
While Google won’t reopen settled claims, current employees can litigate past claims starting March 21.
For the contractors Google works with directly, it will remove mandatory arbitration from their contracts. The caveat, however, is that it won’t require outside firms that employ contractors to do the same. Still, Google says it will notify suppliers so that they can see if that approach would work for them.
This is a direct response to a group of outspoken Google employees protesting the company’s arbitration practices. Last month, a group of Google employees took to Twitter and Instagram in an attempt to educate the public about forced arbitration. That came about one month after this same group of 35 employees banded together to demand Google end forced arbitration as it relates to any case of discrimination. The group also called on other tech workers to join them.
Forced arbitration ensures workplace disputes are settled behind closed doors and without any right to an appeal. These types of agreements effectively prevent employees from suing companies.
Following the massive, 20,000-person walkout at Google in November, Google got rid of forced arbitration for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, offering more transparency around those investigations and more. Airbnb, eBay and Facebook quickly followed suit. Despite some progress across the industry, the end of forced arbitration across all workplace disputes is not widespread.
Since getting rid of forced arbitration for cases relating to sexual harassment and assault, Google said it has been exploring the issue and ultimately decided on implementing a blanket change.