Facebook eliminating arbitration for sexual harassment claims

Posted at 2:15 AM, Nov 12, 2018

Facebook said Friday that it will no longer require employees to resolve sexual harassment claims in arbitration.

The policy change comes one day after Google said it would stop forcing employees into arbitration over sexual harassment and assault claims following mass employee walkouts over how the company has handled the issues in the past.

A spokesperson for Facebook confirmed to CNN Business that it is "amending its 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."

The Wall Street Journal first reported the news on Friday.

Facebook also updated its "workpace relationships policy" on Friday, the spokesperson confirmed to CNN Business.

The company will now require any employees who are director level or above to disclose relationships with any employee, regardless of whether there is a direct reporting line, to the human resources department. All employees were already required to disclose relationships within direct lines of reporting to human resources.

Companies like MicrosoftUber and Lyft have also eliminated the practice in the past year. Uber and Lyft did so following a CNN investigation into sexual assault and abuse by Uber and Lyft drivers -- their policy changes apply to riders, drivers and employees.

Forced arbitration policies, while not unusual for businesses, have been the subject of increased scrutiny. By requiring individuals to settle claims through an arbiter, individuals waive the right to sue or take part in class action lawsuits. Critics say the practice keeps claims out of the public eye and effectively silences victims.