eBay and Airbnb will allow victims of sexual harassment to take their cases to court, rather than require private arbitration, the companies said. Buzzfeed. They are the latest companies to abandon forced arbitration clauses for sexual misconduct, following Facebook and Google, which promised changes after a massive protest from employees. Several other companies said Buzzfeed that they had no such clauses, and two others, Slack and Tesla, declined to comment.
Airbnb released a detailed statement about the change, which applies to claims of discrimination as well as sexual harassment. “We are a company that believes that in the 21st century it is important to continually consider and rethink the best ways to support our employees and strengthen our workplace. “From the beginning, we have tried to build a culture of integrity and respect, and today’s changes are just one more step to drive belonging and integrity in our workplace,” it reads.
eBay was less specific, but said Buzzfeed that the mandatory arbitration had also ended: “We have adjusted our employee policy regarding claims of sexual harassment to better reflect and encourage eBay’s values of being open, honest and straightforward.”
Many companies require employees to resolve disputes through arbitration, but the system can suppress stories of sexual misconduct by keeping them out of court. The backlash against forced arbitration has been building for years, and some state and federal lawmakers have tried (so far without success) to terminate the process. Microsoft, Lyft, and Uber dropped their policies before Google’s protests, and Microsoft supported a federal bill that would ban it.