New Airbnb policy to end arbitration for sexual assault claims

New Airbnb policy to end arbitration for sexual assault claims
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Airbnb said Friday that it will no longer require sexual assault or sexual harassment claims by hosts or guests to go through its arbitration process, allowing alleged victims to sue the company directly.

“We believe that survivors should be able to bring claims in whatever forum is best for them.  We encourage our industry peers within the travel and hospitality space to consider taking similar steps for their respective communities,” the short-term rental company said in a blog post.

The update to the terms of service is expected to take effect “in the Fall,” according to the company.

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Airbnb said the change will “codify a practice” it has already had in place for a couple of years.

According to Airbnb, since January 2019, the company has not asked a court to force any of the “very few” cases involving sexual assault or harassment claims by hosts or guests into arbitration.

It also follows an update the company made in 2018, when Airbnb no longer required its employees to use arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment.

The latest move to revise its policies comes after a Bloomberg News report in June detailed how the company has spent millions of dollars on settlement payouts and used the binding arbitration clause in its terms of service to block users from filing claims for damages in court.