If an employer discriminates against or wrongfully terminates an employee, it would seem simple that the employee would have the right to file a lawsuit. However, some companies have policies that make it more difficult for employees to pursue legal action.
Such was the case at Google, where the company policy forced employees to litigate disputes in arbitration. This process is a closed hearing paid for by a company and keep employees from joining together in class-action lawsuits.
However, Google recently announced it would end this practice. Employees will now have the option to sue for discrimination or wrongful termination without forced arbitration.
This decision follows the company’s move in November to waive mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment and assault claims. It will also allow current employees to move their past claims from arbitration to court
Employee protest caused the policy change
Google did not make this decision on their own. Employees consistently protested and began working with state legislators to introduce bills ending forced arbitration in the United States. The change to the sexual harassment policy came a week after 20,000 employees walk out of their Google offices to handle the company’s mishandling of cases.
Unfortunately, this change will likely not affect many Google employees. The change won’t apply to Google temporary employees, contractors and vendors, who make up for than half of the company’s workforce. But for the employees it does cover, it will mean better access to justice and fair compensation for mistreatment in the workplace.