Parliament votes to end forced arbitration of sexual harassment and assault cases

Senator Gillibrand speaks out on ending forced arbitration for sexual assault

Former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson (L) receives a hug from US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) (R) during a press conference at the US Capitol on February 10, 2022 in Washington, DC. The senator held a press conference to discuss the passage of the Forced Arbitration for Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act.

The US Senate on Friday unanimously passed a bill ending forced arbitration in sexual assault and sexual harassment cases. The US House of Representatives passed End forced arbitration on sexual assault and sexual harassment act 2021 earlier this week. The bill will then be delivered to the President Joe Biden’s table where he was supposed to sign the landmark legislation.

“This is one of the biggest workplace reforms, certainly in our lifetime,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand(DN.Y.), told NBC News.

The practice of forced arbitration is an adjacent legal concept, semi-legal or sub-legal, which means exactly what it sounds like.

In the event that someone has a claim that could otherwise be resolved in a lawsuit (through the legal system), certain contract language is often intended to eliminate the applicable remedy. general and replace it with a system of compulsion or coercion of third-party decision makers. These arbitrators perform some of the same activities as the judiciary. They accept evidence, hear testimony from parties to a dispute, hold hearings (both specific and merit-based), review relevant documents, consult legal counsel reason, etc.

The differences between the various US jurisdictions are vast, and several different forms of arbitration exist. Some arbitrations include an agreed-upon mediator or mediators selected by the participants. Sometimes, and often, an organization like the American Arbitration Association will be established in the language of contract and will do essentially all the work in court.

Each arbitration ends with an “reward” that may or may not be monetary in nature – essentially equivalent to a civil court award. Such awards are binding on the parties involved in the arbitration and, given the semi-legal nature of this secondary dispute resolution system, are usually enforceable through the courts.

Since the #MeToo movement, however, there has been a constant push by advocates to end the practice of forced arbitration – citing the prospect of cutting off access to the de facto court system as an example. concrete and honest about the power imbalance between the rich and powerful people and corporations. Nothing extinguishes this concept like in situations involving sexual assault, a crime with severe punishments, and sexual harassment, a torture with substantial punishments.

Law & Crime of Elura Nanos explained the matter in an opinion editorial About changing the company’s operating methods from the beginning of 2018:

Arbitration clauses are common in many contracts – and by no means bad; Arbitration often provides a faster and cheaper way for employers and employees to resolve disputes. However, in the context of mandatory arbitration clauses, the issue is not that of arbitration – it is “mandatory”. Given the nature of sexual harassment and assault in general, rules requiring secrecy are not a good idea. For every victim of humiliation, pressure, humiliation or assault, there can be ten other people next. Forcing the victim to remain silent risks the personal safety of others.

At the time, Uber and Lyft had just concluded mandatory arbitration against riders and employees. In late 2017, federal law was introduced for the first time to prohibit forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases.

Several years later, allegations of sexual harassment and assault are now excluded from enforcement in the coercive arbitration provisions. The law will not prohibit individuals from choosing an arbitrator if they so desire.

A more comprehensive version of the bill was passed by the House Judiciary Committee late last year. The Unfair Forced Arbitration Abolition (FAIR) Act would put an end to forced arbitration altogether.

Ultimately, Democrats in Congress limited the reach of the legislation to the broad support of the GOP.

[image via Alex Wong/Getty Images]

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https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/congress-just-decided-to-end-forced-arbitration-for-sexual-harassment-and-sexual-assault-cases-heres-what-that-means/ Parliament votes to end forced arbitration of sexual harassment and assault cases

James Brien

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