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Tech companies end forced arbitration for sexual harassment

Workers in Florida and across the country have been speaking out about the harms caused by mandatory arbitration policies when applied to sexual harassment on the job. Facebook and Google both announced that they would end their policies that forced employees to go to arbitration over incidents of sexual harassment and even assaults. Media coverage and employee walkouts have highlighted the frustration of workers at the tech giants over how their complaints have been handled. Facebook said that it is changing its agreements to make arbitration optional rather than mandatory.

The social media corporation also said that it changed its policy on workplace relationships, requiring staff at a director level or higher to disclose relationships with other employees, even if they are not their direct reports. While people were already required to disclose relationships in their chain of command, power dynamics in the workplace are not necessarily limited to people directly working under one another. The two companies join several other large names in the tech industry in changing policies on mandatory arbitration. In the past year, Uber, Lyft and Microsoft eliminated similar policies applied to sexual harassment at work.

While forced arbitration policies are not unusual, they have come under increasing criticism when applied to sexual violence or harassment. Workers may be forced to waive their right to file suit or participate in a class action case, instead going to an arbitrator. The policy can act to keep serious problems from public knowledge.

Sexual harassment on the job can affect people's ability to do their job and move ahead; many people may even face termination if they rebuff unwanted sexual advances. People who have been subjected to sex discrimination or a hostile work environment might seek Boca Raton, Florida, sexual harassment legal assistance. A lawyer might be able to help workers seek justice.

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