In this episode of the Employee Survival Guide, Mark discusses the remarkable new bill passed by Congress banning forced arbitration in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases.
The U.S. Senate approved a bill from the House that ends forced arbitration in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. The bill will be signed into law by President Biden. This is a gigantic win for employees, male and female, as sexual harassment affects everyone.
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Hey, it's Mark and welcome to the next edition of the Employee Survival Guide, where I tell you what your employer does not want you to know about and more. Today we'll be talking about a big deal. Congress just passed a bill that said forced arbitration is banned in sexual harassment cases. nationwide. The US Senate approved a bill from the house that ends forced arbitration in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. The bill will be signed into law by President by this is a gigantic win for employees, male and female like sexual harassment affects everyone. The White House issued a statement in support on February 1 2020. To quote under current law, many employment and other contracts require binding arbitration for a wide range of matters before a dispute arises, which denies survivors the ability to decide whether to pursue their claim with the procedural protections provided by the courts, and silences victims of abuse by forcing them into a confidential dispute form. Without the right to appeal. More than 60 million Americans are subject to mandatory arbitration clause and workplace, often without realizing it until they come forward to bring a claim against their employer. The report of the co chairs the US Employment Opportunity Commission select taskforce on the study of harassment in the workplace, notes that between 50 and 75% of women have faced some form of unwanted unwelcome sexual harassment in the workplace. Additionally, contracts for services may include mandatory arbitration clauses in the fine print that Shield Companies and businesses from being held publicly accountable for the harm caused. According to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, quote, this bill is one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history. It is a major step forward, changing a system that uses secrecy to protect perpetrators and silence survivors and what we have written about for separation, and also called mandatory arbitration many times. The most serious concern with a forced arbitration proceeding is that as conducted in private enterprise sexual harassment victims have their day in court, and the right to receive a trial by jury. arbitration proceedings are secret. arbitration hearings lack utter transparency, accountability, and employers are able to shield unlawful and unfair practices from public view. Not only is that a problem as a matter of public policy, but practically and realistically it takes away the leverage an employee might have to get an employer to the settlement table for fear of making their grievances public. The employer has no obligation or incentive to be transparent. And to make things right, the bill ends this default management practice once and for all. For all sexual assault and sexual harassment victims in the workplace. forced arbitration perpetuated sexual harassment in the workplace. forced arbitration facilitated the perpetuation of sexual assault and sexual harassment discrimination by preventing victims from being heard in open court and preventing their complaints and stories from being made public. In addition, because there is no verdict, the findings of a forced arbitration are private and confidential. There's no ability to for future plaintiffs and their attorneys to uncover company wide data to expose patterns and prior practices of sexual harassment discrimination. Employers were the winners of forced arbitration court cases, but that has ended. Employers were clear winners in the in this unjust and unfair forced arbitration process. Up until now, forced arbitration resulted in favorable favorable outcomes for employers in sexual harassment cases. In fact, research shows that arbitrators were more likely to find a favor employers. Employees are 1.7 times more likely to win in federal courts than in arbitration proceedings, and 2.6 times more likely to win in state courts than an arbitration proceedings. In addition, forced arbitration settlements yield significantly lower damages for employees than then in federal and state courts. forced arbitration nonsense is stopped, at least in part for both male and female employees. However, the practice still continues to be followed in all other discrimination cases nationwide. For now, we should all relish in the sweet victory for employees. Our democracy does work in this bill is a prime example. Thank you for listening to the employee survival guide this week. Look forward to talk to you next week with another topic and story. Stay tuned. Have a good week. Bye bye