Airbnb Inc., following Alphabet Inc.’s Google, Facebook Inc. and Uber Technologies Inc., said it would not force employees who filed sexual harassment claims to settle those cases in private arbitration. Airbnb also said it would not require employees to use arbitration in cases involving discrimination, which includes racial, gender, religious and age inequity.
That policy differs from some other companies which have rolled back forced arbitration rules, but only for sexual harassment cases. Nick Papas, an Airbnb spokesman, said that Airbnb is the first major technology company to remove binding arbitration for discrimination cases as well.
The news comes on the heels of last week’s announcements from Google and Facebook that the companies had changed some policies around sexual harassment, including making arbitration optional in claims. Google had been under pressure to change its rules following an employee walkout on Nov. 1 in protest of the tech giant’s handling of sexual misconduct by its executives. In May, Uber also said it would no longer require arbitration for sexual harassment and assault claims.
Although Airbnb employees may now sue in court, the company will continue to require its guests and hosts to settle sexual and discrimination claims through arbitration. In 2016, Airbnb successfully prevented a class action lawsuit after the home-sharing company was accused of allowing its hosts to reject guests based on their race.
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