As of March 21, Google is no longer requiring its employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment.  The mandatory agreements, common in many workplaces, require employees to agree to waive their right to go to court to pursue any claim they might have against their employer and instead mandate the use of an arbitration process to resolve employment-related claims.  Although a neutral arbitrator can provide a very fair and efficient process to determine the outcome of employment claims, forced arbitration agreements often also require employees to forgo any type of class or collective action against their employers.  This can, essentially, block employees from ever vindicating their rights on relatively small monetary claims because on an individual basis, an employee might not be able to afford a lawyer to represent him or her.  However, class or collective actions covering many smaller, similar claims can make litigation affordable.

Stories in the Huffington Post and Mercury News provide some more details about Google’s action.