There is power in numbers, even against major companies like Google. In early November 2018, more than 20,000 employees staged a walkout to protest how Google handles cases of sexual misconduct. In response, Google is overhauling its practice of forced arbitration for claims of sexual assault or harassment.
Arbitration is a legal process that bypasses the traditional court system. It typically favors the employer, as the hearing is held in front of a single decisionmaker who is traditionally paid for by the employer. The employee is at a disadvantage because he or she did not have a jury of his or her peers to decide the case. In most states, an employer can require an employee to sign an arbitration agreement before beginning employment as a condition of hiring the employee.
Google will now make arbitration optional for employees. Google will also be changing its reporting policies for sexual harassment and assault, providing more transparency to employees about incidents reported to the company and dock employees in performance reviews if they do not complete sexual harassment training.
The organizers of the event, Google Walkout for Real Change, are pleased with the initial steps taken but believe more steps can be taken to address racism and other forms of discrimination at Google.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed, please consider contacting the lawyers at the Bullman Law Firm. We represent workers, not employers. Our phone number is 503-987-0000. There is no charge for your phone call.