Google To End Arbitration Agreements For Employees

Photo: Noah Berger, AP

After months of backlash, Google has reportedly agreed to end arbitration agreements in its employee contracts beginning March 21.

Some tech companies like Google have included these agreements — which bar workers from seeking resolution to grievances in a court of law — in worker contracts, while many gig economy contractor agreements hide a limited ability to opt-out of arbitration within lengthy Terms of Service documents.

In recent years, scrutiny from workers themselves have made arbitration a key issue, and these policies have been partially or totally rolled back at Microsoft, Uber, Facebook, and other firms.

In November, thousands of Googlers engaged in a mass walkout, which resulted in an end to arbitration agreements covering claims of sexual harassment in the workplace for employees. Now, as Axios first reported, the company is putting an end to arbitration in all forms for employees next month.

However, like Google’s previous agreement to budge on the issue, it’s a victory with a big caveat: the change still does not apply to contractors and temp workers. Last July, Fortune reported that, for the first time, Google’s contract workforce outnumbered its full-timers, meaning the majority of Google may still be laboring under arbitration agreements after late March.

We’ve reached out to Google, as well as members of the Google Walkout for Real Change for comment and will update when we hear back.

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