Facebook Follows Google, Ends Mandatory Arbitration for Sexual Harassment

By George Khoury, Esq. on November 12, 2018 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

On the heels of the Google walkout protesters getting one of their important demands met, Facebook announced that it too will follow Google's lead and end mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims.

Now, at both Facebook and Google, an employee bringing a sexual harassment claim has the option to proceed via arbitration or the courts. Additionally, at Facebook, a new policy was announced requiring management level employees (at director level or above) to report if they date someone within the company.

Facebook Staying Ahead of Scandal

Given the social media giant's recent and repeated scandals, it seems the company is looking to stay ahead of its own employee walkout.

Although the rumblings of gender discrimination and pay equity at Facebook haven't been as pronounced as Google's, avoiding high profile employee protests is just good business. And Facebook certainly doesn't shy away from riding the coattails of trends on social media. Microsoft, Uber and Lyft all dropped forced arbitration before it. Earlier this year, Facebook actually defended its forced arbitration policy, and as noted by the Verge, called it "official and appropriate."

Flooding Tech and All Industry

As the New York Times suggested, the Google walkout was a "watershed" moment for the tech industry. The fact that nearly a fifth of the entire Google workforce participated made worldwide headlines, and ramped up social media pressure on Google to respond as worldwide support for protest flooded the internet.

While the NYT may see it as a watershed moment for tech, it might be part of a bigger trend for every industry. Notably, in this modern era of social networks and smart wearables, companies face increasing social media pressure that their own employees have the power to intensify by providing fuel for the social media fire.

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