eBay and Airbnb will both allow sexual harassment victims to take their cases to court, rather than requiring private arbitration, the companies told BuzzFeed. They’re the latest companies to drop forced arbitration clauses for sexual misconduct, following Facebook and Google — which promised changes after a massive employee protest. Several other companies told BuzzFeed that they did not have such clauses, and two others — Slack and Tesla — declined to comment.
Airbnb issued a detailed statement about the change, which applies to discrimination claims as well as sexual harassment. “We are a company who believes that in the 21st Century it is important to continually consider and reconsider the best ways to support our employees and strengthen our workplace. From the beginning, we have sought 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 it told BuzzFeed that it had ended mandatory arbitration as well: “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.”
Many companies require employees settle disputes through arbitration, but the system can suppress stories of sexual misconduct by keeping them out of court. Backlash against forced arbitration has been building for years, and some state and federal lawmakers have attempted (unsuccessfully, so far) to end the process. Microsoft, Lyft, and Uber all dropped their policies before the Google protests, and Microsoft supported a federal bill that would ban it.