Airbnb Will Not Enforce Arbitration Clause
Posted on: September 28, 2021 Airbnb Sexual Assaults
Airbnb recently announced it will no longer enforce the mandatory arbitration clause in its terms of service for claims of sexual assault and harassment. Previously, in order to register on the site, users had to agree to the terms of service which was over 40 pages long. The mandatory arbitration clause was buried somewhere in those pages, so by agreeing to the terms, users were essentially giving up their right to sue the company.
The mandatory arbitration clause in this agreement meant that any issues arising out of a booking on Airbnb’s site would be settled by a third party, not a court, most likely chosen by the company. Even if someone tried to sue Airbnb in court, the company would move to enforce the arbitration clause and have it removed from court. This helped keep any major issues regarding guest or host safety out of the public eye, since unlike court cases, arbitration proceedings are not made public.
While the actual wording in the terms of service has not been changed yet, the company insists that it no longer seeks to enforce the existing arbitration clause when lawsuits claiming sexual assault or harassment are filed against the company in court. Airbnb released a statement saying: “We believe that survivors should be able to bring claims in whatever forum is best for them,” the statement said. “We encourage our industry peers within the travel and hospitality space to consider taking similar steps for their respective communities.”
Despite the company’s insistence that it will no longer enforce the clause for claims of sexual assault and harassment, it has yet to make any public announcements regarding changing the company’s policy or update the terms of service. Hopefully the company does update the terms of service soon, because until it does, Airbnb could still try to remove any lawsuits brought against it for sexual assault and harassment to mandatory arbitration.
The entire article can be viewed here.
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