Protests: Tech giants end forced arbitration
“Amid a rising tide of employee activism,” tech firms are changing their policies around sexual harassment, said Davey Alba and Caroline O’Donovan in BuzzFeedNews.com. Last week, following protests over the handling of misconduct claims against executives, Google said it would end forced arbitration for sexual harassment issues. The policy had squelched any chance for employees “to air their grievances in open court” and kept bad behavior under wraps. Other tech heavyweights—Facebook, Airbnb, eBay, and Square—followed Google’s lead, joining Uber and Microsoft, which had already changed their policies in the last year.
Good riddance to a bad practice, said Elizabeth Winkler in The Wall Street Journal. At nearly every big company rocked by sexual misconduct allegations, “forced arbitration helped keep the allegations quiet and allowed offenders to stay in their jobs or leave with big payouts.” The losers in such cases aren’t just employees. The policies keep “investors in the dark about major flaws in corporate culture and in protections for workers.” That lets “toxic cultures” persist and leads to ugly scandals that end up knocking down share prices and saddling companies with bigger costs than they would have faced if they’d dealt with the problems early. ■