In the wake of a series of employee protests late last year, Google made some much-needed tweaks to its employment policy, ending a requirement for forced arbitration against sexual harassment claims. It was a win for workers' rights, but some Googlers think it may not have gone quite far enough, and are seeking a total end to forced arbitration at the company across the board.
Forced arbitration, if you aren't familiar with the concept, is a requirement that someone (typically a consumer of a product or an employee) submit to a binding agreement that disputes be subject to internal mediation at the company's discretion, suspending their typical rights to legal action in the event of a dispute. Ostensibly presented as a way to save both parties time and money, it's generally seen as a thinly-veiled solution to prevent consumers or employees from banding together in so-called "class action" lawsuits, which are usually more effective against big companies. TL;DR: It's a bad thing for both consumer and employee rights, though the current US Supreme Court refuses to rule against it.
When Google changed its forced arbitration policy last year, it only applied to individual sexual harassment claims; employees of the company are still required to agree to forced arbitration when it comes to other types of disputes. In response, at least some of the same organizers behind last year's protests have formed a new initiative aiming to end forced arbitration altogether — not just when it comes to Google, but in the entire tech industry.
The group goes by the unimaginative but goal-oriented name "End Forced Arbitration," and it plans to start its campaign tomorrow, via hourly facts released on its Twitter account, and half-hour interviews on Instagram. It remains to be seen if the organization plans on doing any large-scale protests or events, but fighting forced arbitration in employment agreements is a pretty steep uphill battle. Hopefully increased public awareness can make a difference.