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Google will end forced arbitration for employees in all disputes

Google will end forced arbitration for employees in all disputes


Expanding its previous policy

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A Google logo sits at the center of ominous concentric circles
Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Google announced today that it will end forced arbitration for its employees, after workers at the company criticized the policy.

After reports of sexual misconduct by executives at Google, 20,000 workers walked off the job, and made an end to forced arbitration one of their demands. In response, Google announced that it would end the practice for sexual harassment and assault cases, but not more broadly. In today’s announcement, the company said it would expand that policy to current and future employees in any type of dispute.

The policy will go into effect March 21st for employees around the world, but will not apply to claims that have been settled already.

Forced arbitration agreements, which reach beyond the tech industry, require employees to waive their rights to make a legal claim in court and instead go through a private system. Google workers have organized around the issue, and pressed executives to end the practice entirely.

Google will also remove arbitration requirements for its extensive group of temps and contractors, although the company says it won’t be able to control the policy that its workforce suppliers mandate on arbitration. Tech industry organizers have also pushed the company to provide equal treatment for those workers, and in a statement today, the organizers said they would meet with legislators next week to press for a complete ban on forced arbitration.

“This victory never would have happened if workers hadn’t banded together, supported one another, and walked out,” the walkout organizers said in a tweet. “Collective action works. Worker power works. This is still just the beginning.”