Googlers unite with tech workers around the nation to end forced arbitration in 2019

Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration launch public education campaign via social media

Follow us on Twitter (@endforcedarb) and Instagram (@endforcedarb) on Tue, Jan 15th from 9am — 6pm EST to learn how forced arbitration denies 60 million Americans access to their civil rights.

#endforcedarbitration

NEW YORK, NY (Jan 14, 2019) — In November 2018, 20,000 Google employees across the globe walked out in protest to our company’s policies around equity and transparency in the workplace. In response, a handful of tech companies attempted to separate harassment from discrimination by making arbitration optional for only individual cases of sexual harassment and assault. The change yielded a win in the headlines, but provided no meaningful gains for worker equity … nor any actual change in employee contracts or future offer letters. (As of this publication, we have confirmed Google is still sending out offer letters with the old arbitration policy.*)

So in December 2018, we launched an industry-wide effort focused on ending forced arbitration. This practice affects at least 60 million workers in the US alone. Ending forced arbitration is the gateway change needed to transparently address inequity in the workplace. In the last month, we’ve heard from fellow tech workers, academic institutions, labor attorneys, advocacy groups and legislators around the nation about their fights to end forced arbitration as well.

We thank the journalists at ProPublica for shining a light on how forced arbitration let IBM discriminate against 20,000 workers. Visit http://bit.ly/ibmpropublica for the full story.

Tomorrow on Tuesday, January 15th, we will launch a social media campaign that shares our collective experiences and knowledge with the world. From 9am — 6pm EST, we will share facts about forced arbitration, particularly about its impact on tech workers, every hour on the hour via Twitter (@endforcedarb). We will share interviews of survivors & experts every hour on the half hour via Instagram (@endforcedarb).

We thank our allies at the American Association for Justice, American Civil Liberties Union, Center for Popular Democracy, Crime Victims Treatment Center, Fair Work Center, Pipeline Parity Project, Public Citizen and Time’s Up for their tenacity in this fight to restore employees’ civil rights and their access to justice.

We extend our gratitude to the professors of Cardozo Law School, Cornell University, NYU School of Law and UCLA Law School who sounded the alarm decades ago — your guidance has been invaluable.

And to the workers who quietly sent us their own employer agreements and shared their stories with us … your courage is the kind we hope to see from our leaders and lawmakers in 2019.

*Update on Jan 16, 2019: Thanks to everyone who tuned in yesterday! Quick update from Google HR via our colleagues: Current Google employees, including those who are switching roles/programs (& thus perhaps a new offer letter), will not get the updated arbitration language in employee agreements. Instead, they can expect a policy change on Google’s internal site at some point (date and location TBD). Brand new hires are reportedly getting the updated arbitration language in their contracts. (While communication is progress, we still find this vague communication and uncertain rollout procedure unsettling. Our work continues.

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Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration