22 January 2019
Google and Facebook both have controversial policies and practices which has led to a number of employees teaming up to protest against the tech giants.
In response to the first protest, Google's CEO Sundar Pichai had posted on the company's site in November: "We recognize that we have not always gotten everything right in the past and we are sincerely sorry for that. It's clear we need to make some changes."
Last week, lawsuits were filed against the tech giant alleging that the company acted improperly by shareholders. The plaintiffs are reportedly seeking a variety of internal reforms at Google, which includes an end to the forced arbitration agreements which limit employees’ legal rights if they are subjected to workplace discrimination. A group called Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration had launched a social media campaign to pressure their employer and other Silicon Valley companies to change their policies.
“This isn’t just a Google issue. If they all have these arbitration agreements, then there is really is no way for employees to negotiate,” says Vicki Tardif, a member of Google’s search team who spoke and organised the Google walkout in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Mandatory arbitration agreements, which are often signed as part of an employment contract, have come under fire during the #MeToo movement as it shields serial predators, and force employees to take their claims to a private arbiter, instead of public court.
Facebook employees have also complained about the company’s culture. Facebook’s secretive rulebook censors’ employees in certain forms of expression which has a number of biases and outright errors. A report states that the anti-arbitration campaign represents a watershed moment for tech’s budding labor movement, as it involves multiple companies including Facebook, Uber, and others.