Tech employees protest arbitration for workplace discrimination

Some employees in Tennessee may discover that their terms of employment will force them to enter into arbitration if they have complaints about workplace discrimination. This practice is especially pervasive in the technology sector, which is why a group of employee activists at Google has organized a social media protest to criticize forced arbitration. They say the practice gives employers the advantage and tends to reduce settlements for wrongdoing.

The group intends to post messages on Twitter and Instagram with facts about the problem, statements from employees and expert interviews. Studies indicate that workers usually lose their cases to employers in arbitration. When they do win, the settlements are generally lower than the amounts collected by people who go to court.

The Google employee campaign, which began in November 2018, seeks to expose the negative aspects of forced arbitration and pressure companies into removing the requirement from employment contracts. The activists' review of contracts from 30 large technology companies and 10 staffing agencies showed that all contracts disfavored employees who complained of mistreatment or harassment. These contracts typically strip people of their rights to seek remedies in court or participate in class-action lawsuits. The campaign organizers attribute the poor record of diversity in the technology sector in part to forced arbitration that protects companies from the consequences of discriminating against workers.

A person experiencing sexual harassment or other forms of workplace discrimination based on race, religion or age may want legal guidance prior to making a complaint. An attorney could evaluate the evidence and explain which laws a company might have broken. After initiating a complaint, legal counsel can advocate for the plaintiff's needs during arbitration or litigation.

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