Representatives Look to Ban Mandatory Arbitration Clauses in Workplace Sexual Discrimination and Harassment Cases

December 01, 2017

The House passed by voice vote a resolution requiring members and staff to undergo sexual harassment training in each session of Congress as a bipartisan group of Representatives gathered support to introduce legislation that would prohibit the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in cases of sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  The resolution resembles a Senate resolution passed earlier this month.  Meanwhile, Reps. Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Walter Jones (R-NC), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), and Elise Stefanik (R-NY) sent a letter to fellow representatives asking for support for legislation that would ban mandatory arbitration clauses in cases of sexual discrimination and harassment in the workplace.  The letter reads:

In restaurants, shopping malls, and on the factory floor, too many employees are being forced to choose: put up with untenable and offensive behavior or lose their job.  And, companies rely on a little-known legal tool to sweep the problem under the rug with secretive cash pay-outs.  Under a mandatory arbitration clause, no matter what happens on the job, workers cannot take their employer to court.  Instead they are required to participate in a binding arbitration process where their grievances may never see the light of day.  In these instances, both sides present their arguments to a hired third-party entity, which then issues a ruling and awards damages.  There is no judge or jury, and often no opportunity to appeal the decision.

The text of the bill is not yet available.