Tech workers to target forced arbitration clauses in social media campaign

Tech workers to target forced arbitration clauses in social media campaign

Tech workers hoping to capitalize on the success of last year’s walkouts by Google employees are launching a social media campaign against forced arbitration clauses that are commonly found in Silicon Valley’s employment contracts.

A group called Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration will push a discussion on social media aimed at raising awareness on the practice, which prevents workers from suing their employers over certain matters and instead forces them to resolve disputes in arbitration — a process that is much more opaque and that critics say favors employers.

“Ending forced arbitration is the gateway change needed to transparently address inequity in the workplace,” the group wrote in a Medium post on Monday. “In the last month, we’ve heard from fellow tech workers, academic institutions, labor attorneys, advocacy groups and legislators around the nation about their fights to end forced arbitration as well.”

The social media campaign is scheduled for 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday and will be led by the Twitter and Instagram handles @endforcedarb.

In November, about 20,000 Google employees staged a walkout at offices around the world after a New York Times story revealed that the company had given a large severance package to an executive that was pushed out following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Demonstrators rallied around a list of demands that included an end to forced arbitration clauses. Google CEO Sundar Pichai later announced that the company would end the practice for sexual harassment claims.

But Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration said the commitment fell short because it didn’t apply to contractors and part-time employees and it still prevented employees from bringing class action sexual harassment suits.

A spokesperson for Google was not immediately available to comment.