Google ends forced arbitration for employees globally

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.

Google stopped so-called forced arbitration in cases of sexual harassment and assault past year after 20,000 workers walked out to oppose how the search giant handles internal complaints.

Google says it will no longer require that its workers settle disputes with the company through arbitration, responding to months of pressure from employees. Instead, they take them to an arbitrator, usually through an arbitration service that's paid by the employer.

The change will take effect March 21 and will apply to current and future employees. With this, Google employees who face workplace misconduct in any form can now go public.

Last November, over 20,000 employees staged a walkout at Google over forced arbitration.

The protests came in the wake of a New York Times investigation that "detailed years of sexual harassment allegations, multimillion-dollar severance packages for accused executives, and a lack of transparency over the cases".

This is a direct response to a group of outspoken Google employees protesting the company's arbitration practices.

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"We are definitely looking into this area further", Pichai said.

Google won't make all employees re-sign their work contracts, it said, but will post the policy change internally and update its contracts for new employees.

On Thursday, Google announced it would end forced arbitration for all internal matters moving forward.

And Axios reported that, while the changes will cover firms that sit under Google - such as DeepMind and the X research lab - it will not apply for other Alphabet companies that are separate from Google.

As a result, the company has now dropped forced arbitration in all cases. "Collective action works. Worker power works".

Mandatory arbitration remains a common policy for many companies, with the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, finding that more than 60 million American employeesworked under the agreements. The result is that many valid claims are never brought to begin with, since they are too small on their own.

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