Earlier this month, thousands of Google employees walked out of their offices, in part to protest company policies regarding sexual harassment, transparency, and the handling thereof. CEO Sundar Pichai acknowledged the protesters’ concerns and implied management was working on fixing the policies that had led to them.
Last week, it was revealed that not only was Google reversing course on forced arbitration, but other companies were starting to wake up to the fact that it’s a terrible, terrible policy.
Just last Friday, Facebook joined the growing group of companies who have eliminated it from their company mandate, saying:
…we are publishing our updated Workplace Relationships policy and amending our arbitration agreements to make arbitration a choice rather than a requirement in sexual harassment claims. Sexual harassment is something that we take very seriously and there is no place for it at Facebook.
For those who don’t know, forced arbitration is a condition of employment or service wherein a consumer or employee agrees to settle disputes within the company’s private forums, rather than in court. While this is beneficial for a company, in that it keeps disputes from being taken public, it’s often not so great for those complaining.
Yesterday, Airbnb and eBay joined the list of companies that were revising their policies on forced arbitration. In a statement to Buzzfeed News, Airbnb said:
We will not require our employees to use arbitration in cases involving discrimination in the workplace. Additionally, we will not require employees to use arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment. We’re proud that these changes will allow employees to choose how to resolve their concerns and believe this is the right thing to do for our employee community.
An eBay spokesperson echoed the sentiment:
eBay takes great pride in fostering an inclusive culture that allows employees to feel comfortable and encouraged to report any workplace issues. We’ve adjusted our existing employee policy regarding sexual harassment claims to better reflect and encourage eBay’s values of being open, honest and direct.
Of the other companies Buzzfeed spoke to, Apple and Lyft both said they ended forced arbitration earlier this year. Infamously, Uber also reversed its policy this year as part of an effort to bolster its image after a year of bad publicity.
Several other companies, including Twitter and Reddit, said they’d never required forced arbitration in the first place.