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Big Tech Companies Ending Practice of Mandatory Arbitration for Sex Harassment

Facebook, Google, Uber, Lyft, and Microsoft have all ended mandatory arbitration for their employees alleging sexual harassment. Likely a result of the pressure from the #MeToo movement and its attendant press as well as employees banding together and speaking out, these companies have voluntarily and publicly announced that they will no longer require arbitration on these issues.
Mandatory arbitration for all employment matters has long been on an upswing, as employers seek ways to limit their liability when employees bring claims. The U.S. Supreme Court has supported these efforts, upholding an employer’s right to require arbitration as a condition of employment. However, employees generally disfavor arbitration as they perceive it as a process that favors employers and takes away their right to go to court.
Google initiated its new policy against arbitration after the recent walkout and New York Times article exposing some big players accused of sexual harassment. As part of the changes it is promising its employees, arbitration will be optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Google intends to make more changes to its policies to assuage employees’ concerns. Facebook announced its change in policy just one day after Google, making arbitration a choice. Facebook will also require executives to disclose any romantic relationships with other employees.