Facebook and Airbnb revise their policies on sexual harassment after Google's protest


Earlier this month, thousands of Google employees left their offices, partly to protest corporate policies regarding sexual harassment, transparency and treatment of them. CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged the protesters' concerns and suggested that management was working on the policies that had driven them.

Last week, it was revealed that not only was Google reversing its course on forced arbitration, but that other companies were beginning to realize that it was a dreadful policy.

Last Friday, Facebook joined the growing group of companies that removed it from its mandate, stating:

… We publish our updated policy on workplace relations and amend our arbitration agreements to make arbitration a choice rather than a requirement in sexual harassment claims. Sexual harassment is something we take very seriously and there is no place for it on Facebook.

For those who do not know, forced arbitration is a condition of employment or service in which a consumer or employee agrees to settle disputes in the private bodies of the company rather than in a court of law. While this is beneficial to a business, in that it prevents disputes from being made public, it is often not so good for those who complain.

Yesterday, Airbnb and eBay joined the list of companies that revised their policies on forced arbitration. In a statement to Buzzfeed News, Airbnb said:

We will not require our employees to resort to arbitration in cases of discrimination in the workplace. In addition, we will not require employees to resort to arbitration in sexual harassment cases. We are proud that these changes allow employees to choose how to solve their problems, and we believe this is the right thing to do for our community of employees.

An eBay spokesperson echoed this feeling:

eBay is very proud to promote an inclusive culture that allows employees to feel comfortable and encouraged to report any issues in their workplace. We have adapted our current policy regarding sexual harassment complaints to employees to better reflect and encourage eBay's values ​​of being open, honest and direct.

Other companies buzzfeed talked to Apple and Lyft both said they ended forced arbitration earlier this year. Infamous, Uber also reversed its policy this year to strengthen its image after a year of bad publicity.

Several other companies, including Twitter and Reddit, stated that they would never have needed forced arbitration.

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