Google has agreed to one of the demands made by the thousands of employees who protested the company’s response to sexual misconduct and harassment allegations last year, and will no longer require employees to settle disputes at the company through arbitration.
According to CNET, Google will “no longer require current and future staff to go through mandatory arbitration for disputes with the company,” starting from March 21, and the company “will also remove mandatory arbitration from its own employment agreements with contract and temporary staff.”
As noted by CNET, “Mandatory arbitration often means workers can’t take their employers to court when they complain internally.”
The Twitter account for the mass walkout of Google employees in November, which took place in response to the company’s treatment of those accused of sexual misconduct, celebrated the change, posting, “This victory never would have happened if workers hadn’t banded together, supported one another, and walked out. Collective action works. Worker power works. This is still just the beginning.”
This victory never would have happened if workers hadn't banded together, supported one another, and walked out. Collective action works. Worker power works. This is still just the beginning. #GoogleWalkout #EndForcedArb https://t.co/Csfb0HXr8f
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) February 21, 2019
“As part of the policy change, Google told me it will also let employees pursue ~class action lawsuits~. (before, employees were subject to a class action waiver.) this is a big deal!! historically, class action is the vehicle for social change,” proclaimed Wired senior writer Nitasha Tiku.
As part of the policy change, Google told me it will also let employees pursue ~class action lawsuits~. (before, employees were subject to a class action waiver.)
this is a big deal!! historically, class action is the vehicle for social change https://t.co/rZ9LVDlora
— Nitasha Tiku (@nitashatiku) February 22, 2019
On November 1, 2018, thousands of Google employees worldwide staged mass walkout protests against Google’s handling of sexual misconduct and harassment allegations at the company.
Walkout protests took place in New York City, Dublin, London, Singapore, Toronto, Berlin, Cambridge, and Google’s HQ in Mountain View, California.
At the time, the demands made by protesters included, “An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination,” “A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity,” “A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report,” “A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously,” and, “Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors.”
Since the protests, it was reported that Google has been lobbying the U.S. government to “limit protection” for protesting employees who organize at work.