Tackling Sexual Harassment in 900 Workplaces

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Photo by Jeremy Yapp on Unsplash

Sexism. Racism. Discrimination. Harassment. Some of the biggest societal challenges that harm women and people of color can feel intimidatingly unsolvable at times. Many of these issues are complex and nuanced. Addressing them requires major cultural and behavioral shifts — which is why making an impact can feel so daunting.

There’s one potential big driver for change though: Corporations. Corporations have a unique role to play in creating an equitable world. They are among the richest and most influential organizations on the planet, and, on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace, incredibly important because they are among the world’s largest employers. While there are no silver bullets, there’s one step they can take today to fight sexual harassment: Do away with forced arbitration.

That’s why we started Force the Issue. It’s an effort to encourage companies to drop forced arbitration for sexual harassment.

It’s not often that a solution is so clear cut as ending forced arbitration for sexual harassment. This harmful policy silences survivors, protects serial harassers and hides cases from the public and investors. Several tech companies like Microsoft, Google, Facebook, Lyft, Square, Airbnb, eBay, and Uber have already done away with the practice.

It’s time for others to follow suit.

As part of this project, we’re documenting in our database which companies still require the practice and which have dropped it. We started by asking more than 200 of the largest employers about their policies and will be adding hundreds more companies as we go.

Whenever we get new information about a company’s practices or learn of a change in its policy, we’re updating the data. You can use our database to track which companies have eliminated the practice, which haven’t, and which ones continues to operate in concerning ways. We’ve already identified over 30 large, publicly companies that have either dropped or never used the practice, many of which were not yet on the public record.

Force the Issue was put together by a coalition of women-led organizations representing investors, consumers, workers, and the general public. RISE is a community of investors who develop social justice screens to inform their investment decisions. The Grab Your Wallet Alliance has driven major consumer and social media-driven actions encouraging companies to drop ties with individuals who perpetuate hate and harassment. LedBetter takes a data journalism-influenced approach to documenting workplace inequality.

We’re proud to be holding corporations accountable for whether or not they’ve taken an important step in making their workplaces zero tolerance for sexual harassment. Learn more on our site or reach out at hello@forcetheissue.org.

— The Force the Issue Team

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