Congress Passes New Ban For Employers

( Last week, the Senate passed a bill that would eliminate forced arbitration agreements for victims of workplace sexual harassment or assault with bipartisan support.

The legislation, known as the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act,” is co-sponsored by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand and South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham who first introduced the bill in 2017. It would ensure that victims have the option of suing their abusers in state, tribal, or federal court, nullifying clauses in employment contracts that force employees to enter arbitration with their employers.

Earlier in the week, the House passed its version of the bill 335 to 97.

Proponents of the legislation, say it will add transparency that will ensure predators are punished while also preventing them from repeating their actions in the future.

Some Republicans, however, believe the legislation is overreach by the federal government in workplace matters.

In arbitration cases, the facts of the complaint never become public allowing the accused to move on to another employer without having to disclose a previous complaint of workplace sexual harassment or assault.

Approximately 60 million workers are subject to forced arbitration provisions in the workplace.

Senator Gillibrand, who has long championed the bill, said the legislation gives victims “their day in court” and permits them to publicly discuss their cases. She said it will fix “a broken system” that protects perpetrators of workplace harassment and assault and end the “institutional protection for harassers.”

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said workplace practices like forced arbitration have allowed a culture of abuse to perpetuate without accountability for decades. Calling the practice wrong, Schumer said it was “about time” that changed.

Co-sponsor Lindsey Graham dismissed Republican concerns over the legislation, arguing that banning forced arbitration isn’t “bad for business,” instead it was “good for America.” He said the bill makes sure that victims of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace don’t have to sign away their lives because they are prevented from having their day in court.

President Biden is expected to sign the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act” into law.