#MeToo pushes Google to end forced arbitration for employees

San Francisco: Intense protests over workplace misconduct and discrimination in the #MeToo era have finally brought the curtains down on the controversial forced arbitration policy at Google offices across the globe. In forced arbitration, a company requires an employee to submit any dispute that may arise to binding arbitration as a condition of employment.

The employee is required to waive his or her right to sue, to participate in a class action lawsuit, or to appeal, and instead go through a private system which favours the companies. “Critics of the agreements argue they help companies keep issues ranging from sexual violence to racial and age discrimination quiet,” said CNN.

Axios was first to report that the new Google policy will go into effect from March 21. With this, Google employees who face workplace misconduct in any form can now go public. “Employees with disputes currently in arbitration who are still employed by the company as of March 21 will be able to choose to sue instead,” the report added, quoting Google.

Last year, Google employees the world over called for the practice to end in cases of harassment and discrimination. They took to Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to educate the public about forced arbitration. 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”.

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