Google makes arbitration policy change … employees push for progress
Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration expand education and coalition-building efforts across the nation starting Wed, Mar 27
NEW YORK, NY (Mar 21, 2019) — One month ago today, Google announced it would end forced arbitration for its full-time and temporary workforce. Our employee handbook and internal website have been updated for the arbitration policy change. (While they make no mention of ending class action waivers, we have a written email confirmation from the policy team that the class action ban has been lifted.) We remain disappointed that while our employer can update its Terms of Service for billions of end users, it chooses not to update the employment agreements of its own two hundred thousand workers.
While Google has capitulated, it has yet to lead. Google has not demanded the Suppliers of its temporary workforce change their terms. We estimate 52% of our Google workforce remains bound by some form of forced arbitration by the suppliers of these workers (Adecco, Bon Appetit, etc.) Alphabet also has yet to extend this policy to other ‘bets’ such as Verily and Waymo.
So during this past month, our group did two things. First, we learned of another staggering $45M payout offered to an executive who harassed a female employee. This only fueled our work and underscored the need for greater transparency. Second, we connected with workers across industries all over the country during our trip to Washington, DC, formalizing our three focus areas: education, coalitions and legislation.
Upon return, we held a panel on campus called Arbitration in America: Ask the Experts with leading scholars and lawyers in the field. Hundreds of colleagues tuned in to learn more about the practice. But many of our TVC colleagues could not attend given how their time is structured on campus. We also had people ask how they could send the the taping of the panel to their friends at other companies. So we’re holding a public version of this panel next week on Wed, Mar 27th in New York.
- Katherine Stone, Professor at UCLA Law School
- Myriam Gilles, Professor at Cardozo Law School
- Jason Fuiman, Lawyer at O’Dwyer & Bernstien
- Alex Colvin, Interim Dean at Cornell University
- Galen Sherwin, Staff Attorney at American Civil Liberties Union
We invite everyone in New York — engineers, construction workers, retail cashiers, journalists and fast food workers — to join us. Registration is free and the livestream link will soon be available for those who want to tune in from other locations. Over drinks and hors d’oeuvres, you will learn more about the practice of forced arbitration, how it creates a culture of secrecy and perpetuates the behavior that undermines any company’s diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
p.s. Save the date … #FAIRActFriday on Fri, Mar 29th.