Google is putting an end to forced arbitration for employees

Google will end forced arbitration for employees

The share of workers employed under forced arbitration has roughly doubled since the early 2000s, giving fewer workers access to the courts for civil rights, family leave, and wage and hour claims. Accordingly, Google declared that it would end the practice for sexual harassment and assault cases, however, not more broadly.

Google said Thursday it will no longer require that its workers settle disputes with the company through arbitration, responding to months of pressure from employees. Employees will still have the option to arbitrate privately. The protest was announced in the wake of a New York Times article that alleged that not only does Google not take action against high-ranking employees found guilty of sexual misconduct, it sweeps the matter under the rug whilst granting a generous exit package to the violators.

Google is now ending forced attribution for all its current and future employees.

After the protest, Google dropped arbitration requirements for sexual harassment claims, but organizers said the change didn't go far enough.

The new standards would not only apply to full-time workers, but to temporary and contract workers that work directly for the company - though firms that hire these workers may still choose to use arbitration clauses.

Though some of Google's competitors in Silicon Valley may follow suit, it's unlikely many other USA employers will do so. The changes also apply to companies such as the DeepMind AI program that legally exist under Google but not to companies that are owned by its parent company Alphabet but separate from the search engine giant.

Later this month members of that group will sit in front of senators and representatives and call for an end to forced arbitration for all workers in the U.S.

"This victory never would have happened if workers hadn't banded together, supported one another, and walked out", Google Walkout for Real Change wrote on Twitter. "This is still just the beginning", they tweeted. In the case known as Epic Systems v. Lewis, several workers had sued their employers over the use of class-action waivers in forced arbitration agreements, arguing that it ran afoul of the bedrock US law enshrining collective bargaining rights.

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