In the U.S., employee contracts often contain a clause of forced arbitration for any claims they have against the company, meaning they can’t take their cases to court. Mandatory arbitration clauses disproportionately impact women, people of color, and low-wage workers. Congress wants to make them disappear… at least for sexual assault and harassment cases.
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act passed through Congress with bipartisan support, thanks in part to the #MeToo movement and possibly also thanks to general common sense. President Biden is expected to sign the bill any time now. Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, one of the bill’s sponsors, says an estimated 60 million U.S. workers will now be able to have their voices heard in court if they want to.
Many are hoping this means an end to forced arbitration for all claims, but the bill’s other sponsor, Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, says nope: “We do not intend to take unrelated claims out of the contracts.”