Facebook will no longer force employees to settle sexual harassment claims in private mediation, after a similar change at Google yesterday, according to The Wall Street Journal. Facebook reportedly announced the news to workers today, and vice president of individuals Lori Goler told the Journal that it wants to”be a part of taking the next step” in”a pivotal moment” in the tech industry. Additionally, it announced an updated coverage on the relationship among workers, requiring executives to disclose any romantic relationship with another employee, even when they are not overseeing that employee’s work.
Many companies — including Microsoft, Uber, and Lyft — have dropped forced mediation clauses from sexual harassment claims. But Google’s change was especially high-profile since it was created following an estimated 20 per cent of employees participated in a mass walkout protest a week. Arbitration was merely one of those protesters’ needs, and their discussions with Google stay ongoing. Facebook published its full internal harassment policy late last year, during the very first weeks of their #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment. However, Facebook defended its forced arbitration policy earlier this season, calling the process”official and appropriate.”
In a declaration, company media relations director Anthony Harrison confirmed that Facebook was creating arbitration optional. “Now, we are publishing our updated Workplace Relationships policy and amending our arbitration agreements to make mediation a decision as opposed to a requirement in sexual harassment claims,” he told The Verge. “Sexual harassment is something which people take very seriously, and there is no place for it in Facebook.”