Facebook follows Google to end mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment claims

  • Facebook ended its policy of mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment complaints, according to a report on Friday.
  • Facebook is following in the footsteps of Google, Uber and Microsoft, which have made similar policy changes in the past year.
  • The move comes after thousands of Google employees protested their company for its handling of sexual-harassment complaints.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testifies before a joint hearing of the US Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee and Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill, April 10, 2018 in Washington, DC.

Facebook on Friday became the latest tech company to end a policy of requiring employees to settle claims of sexual harassment through private arbitration, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. It will now allow employees to take these types of claims to court.

Tech companies have long used arbitration as a method for handling instances of sexual harassment to prevent employees from suing them in court, but that's starting to change. Facebook's move comes shortly after a similar move this week by Google, which came after thousands of its employees walked out in protest last week over its handling of sexual harassment complaints. In particular, those Google employees were protesting how the company reportedly gave large exit packages to departing executives after credible claims of sexual misconduct.

Microsoft made a similar policy change late last year, followed by Uber in May.

Facebook announced the change workers on Friday, the report says.

Additionally, Facebook changed its policy on office dating and will now require employees who are director level or higher to disclose if they are dating a colleague. Previously, the company only required disclosure if an employee was dating someone they supervised, according to the report.

"Today, we are publishing our updated Workplace Relationships policy and amending our arbitration agreements to make arbitration a choice rather than a requirement in sexual harassment claims," Anthony Harrison, a spokesman for Facebook, told CNBC in a statement. "Sexual harassment is something that we take very seriously and there is no place for it at Facebook.