AAJ Awards "Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration" with the Steven J. Sharp Public Service AwardJuly 30,2019
Washington, DC — During the 2019 Annual Convention in San Diego, American Association for Justice (AAJ®) President Elise Sanguinetti presented the Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration with the Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award. Representatives of the group accepting the award were Tanuja Gupta, Christopher Schmidt, Emanuel Schorsch, Obasi Shaw and Vicki Tardif.
“The Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration proved that employee activism is a force to be reckoned with,” said Sanguinetti. “Not only were these Google employees brave to protest their employer’s policy of forced arbitration, they were also persistent, organized and unwilling to accept half-measures.”
In November 2018 the Google Walkout made headlines as 20,000 workers walked out in protest of the company’s response to allegations of sexual harassment, including the use of forced arbitration. The Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration formed after the protest with the goal of fighting to end forced arbitration at Google and beyond. Their efforts led to an announcement by Google that they would no longer use forced arbitration against their employees. The Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration continue to advocate for a law to protect all workers against forced arbitration.
Sanguinetti added, “We are proud to present this award to Tanuja, Christopher, Emanuel, Obasi, Vicki and all of their colleagues to recognize their efforts to educate the public on forced arbitration. These organizers will continue to play a crucial role in our fight to strengthen civil justice so that everyone who is financially or physically harmed can be heard by a judge and jury.”
About the Award
The Steven J. Sharp Public Service Award recognizes attorneys and their clients whose cases tell the story of American civil justice and help educate the public about the need to protect Americans’ constitutional right to trial by jury.
The award is named after a brave Richland, Oregon, man who lost his arms at the age of 17 because of a defective tractor hay baler. The tractor manufacturer knew of the tractor’s defective design, yet company executives did nothing – leaving consumers at risk. At the time of Steven’s case, there was legislation pending in Congress that would have protected the tractor manufacturer and prevented him from holding the corporation accountable in court. Steven shared his story with lawmakers on Capitol Hill and ultimately helped convince President Clinton to veto the legislation that would have limited his access to the courts and deprived others like him of justice.