Facebook to make arbitration for harassment claims optional

San Francisco: Following Google’s footsteps, Facebook is also planning to do away with its policy of requiring employees to settle sexual harassment claims made against colleagues in private arbitration alone, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Facebook announced the new policy in an internal post to staff, the report on Friday said.

The rule change will allow Facebook employees to pursue sexual harassment claims in court if they so wish.

Earlier, Google on Thursday announced that it was making arbitration optional for individual sexual harassment and sexual assault claims.

Google outlined the new sexual harassment policy after over 20,000 employees staged a global walkout last week in protest against sexual harassment at the company and its improper handling of sexual misbehaviour allegations against top executives.

Facebook following the same policy now marks a significant departure from its earlier stance in which it defended the compulsory arbitration policy as “appropriate”.

The social networking giant has also updated its inter-office dating policy to require any executive at a director level or above to disclose any romantic relationship with another colleague, even if they are not overseeing that employee’s work.

Several other companies — including Microsoft, Uber, and Lyft — have dropped forced arbitration clauses from sexual harassment claims, The Verge reported.