As one of the most prolific and important companies in the technology industry, Google’s actions are watched closely. Up until recently, Google (like many companies) was forcing arbitration agreements upon employees; the company recently decided to end this practice, giving rights back to its employees.
Arbitration agreements are a common occurrence in employment contracts. These force employees to resolve any lawsuits against the company in arbitration rather than in a public court. The main problem with arbitration? Since it is not a public process, the details of the lawsuit are kept secret. This secrecy helps protect companies from additional scrutiny, but can be extremely harmful to employees.
The practice of forced arbitration is facing a lot of criticism in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Because arbitration keeps matters of a lawsuit secret, companies can much better protect executives and both the individual’s reputation as well as the company’s image from criticism of the public at large. This in turn enables individuals who sexually harass other employees to continue their behavior without fear of repercussions. Last year, employees at Google were so fed up with the forced arbitration agreements they staged a walk out. The walk out gained national attention and put significant pressure on the tech giant. In response to growing pressure, Google announced its plans to get rid of arbitration agreements for all current and future employees. This will allow employees to settle any type of work dispute in a court if necessary.
Understanding Workers’ Rights
No one should be subject to discrimination or harassment in the workplace. Companies that use arbitration agreements are empowered to hide their wrongdoings in private arbitration proceedings, which take away workers’ voices. While Google has returned this power to employees, many companies still utilize arbitration agreements. Regardless of whether or not companies have arbitration agreements in place, workers still have rights and can seek compensation when these rights are violated.
Houston Employment Lawyers
At Feldman & Feldman, our attorneys have represented scores of victims who were subjected to discrimination and harassment in the workplace. If you are experiencing discrimination or harassment, don’t wait to contact us. We can help you understand your rights and legal options. Call us today to schedule an appointment with one of our Houston employment lawyers.