January 05, 2018

Senator Hassan Cosponsors Bipartisan Legislation To Help Prevent Sexual Harassment In The Workplace

WASHINGTON -- Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) cosponsored bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act of 2017 would void forced arbitration agreements that prevent sexual harassment survivors from getting the justice they deserve.

An estimated 60 million Americans are subject to forced arbitration clauses in their employment contracts. The bipartisan legislation would void forced arbitration agreements that require arbitration of sexual harassment and discrimination claims and allow survivors of sexual harassment or discrimination to seek justice, discuss their cases publicly, and eliminate institutional protection for harassers. 

“Sexual harassment, misconduct, and assault in the workplace must never be tolerated, and forced arbitration policies contribute to a broken system that allows unacceptable behavior to continue,” Senator Hassan said. “It is long past time that we empower women and all survivors of sexual harassment and assault by ending forced arbitration and enabling real reform in workplaces across the country. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act is critical to helping ensure that survivors are allowed to speak out and harassers are held accountable, and I am glad to see bipartisan support for this effort.”

Forced arbitration clauses prevent survivors of sexual harassment from discussing the nature or basis of their complaint. If an employee’s contract or employee handbook includes a forced arbitration clause, the employee is likely to have signed away his or her right to a jury trial whether or not they are aware of the clause. Employees are far more likely to win cases that go to trial than cases that go through the arbitration process.