Google ends mandatory arbitration policy

Image: Google employees during a walkout protest in Mountain View, Californ
Google employees during a walkout protest in Mountain View, California, on Nov. 1, 2018. -
Mason Trinca Getty Images file
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Google announced Thursday that it would no longer require employees to settle complaints in private through a process known as mandatory arbitration, a move that comes just weeks after a campaign by Google employees that included a global walkout.

Google confirmed that the change applies to both current and future employees and will be effective March 21.

Arbitration is a private, quasi-legal process that some workers and activist organizations say is used by companies to shield internal disputes from public scrutiny. Google's move comes three months after it made a similar announcement that only applied to sexual harassment cases.

Thousands of employees walked out of Google offices worldwide in November, including at the company's Mountain View headquarters, after a report from The New York Times detailed that three executives had received sizable payouts after leaving the company following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Google employees said that they were dissatisfied with the corporate response to sexual harassment and other forms of misconduct. In recent months, tech workers across the industry have become more organized and vocal with regard to company policies regarding internal culture as well as how their technology is used by governments.

Axios first reported the news on Thursday.

Google in Novemberended forced arbitration for sexual harassment claims, a move that was followed by Facebook, Airbnb and eBay.

Mandatory arbitration remains a common policy for many companies, with the Economic Policy Institute, a nonprofit think tank, finding that more than 60 million American employeesworked under the agreements.