Vox Media Drops Mandatory Arbitration Clauses Amid Union Push

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Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff

"We feel this is the right approach for our company," CEO Jim Bankoff told staffers on Tuesday.

Amid pressure from the digital media company's staff union, Vox Media CEO Jim Bankoff on Tuesday told employees that the company will not enforce existing mandatory arbitration clauses in employment agreements and will not include them in future contracts.

"As part of a broader conversation about justice, fairness, inclusion and diversity, including from our own reporting, leaders of our company began exploring the possibility of eliminating the mandatory arbitration clause in our employment agreements," Bankoff said in a memo obtained by The Hollywood Reporter. "We feel this is the right approach for our company and I’m grateful to those of you who made the time to reach out and offer your perspectives and insight."

The Vox Media Union responded positively to the company's decision, saying on Twitter that it is "the right thing to do" and listing some of the blue-chip companies that have made a similar decision.

But, the union said, "the fight isn’t over. We hope that Vox Media will soon extend this decision to our many contractors."

In making the decision, Bankoff said the company consulted with employees, "peer companies and outside experts who have studied this area, particularly in the media space."

"We are a stronger and better culture and company overall when we work together to pressure test assumptions, iterate and improve our policies, and ultimately grow and succeed in the marketplace," the exec said in the email.

An editorial manager at the company said that Vox management's decision was "pre-empting a union petition."

Advocates for corporate accountability and employee rights have encouraged companies to drop such clauses, as they force employees to submit to a secretive process that removes their ability to take further legal action.

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson pushed for a piece of congressional legislation back in 2017 that would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts.