June 08, 2018
Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) and Kamala Harris (D-CA) introduced the latest effort to address sexual harassment in private sector workplaces—the EMPOWER Act Parts I and II (S.2994 and S.2988, respectively)—which would generally ban nondisclosure agreements for harassment claims and require publicly traded companies to report the number of settlements and settlement amounts in their annual SEC filing.
Under the bills:
Outlook: The bill has the support of more than a dozen civil, human, and women's rights groups, but it is one among several measures that have been introduced and it is unclear which, if any, will receive a strong push. Meanwhile, several states are moving to address the issue (see separate story below).
In the House, Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL) has sent a letter to several large employers asking them to change “the private sector’s use of force arbitration” and to share the companies’ “policies on sexual harassment and discrimination as well as dispute resolution and arbitration more broadly.” The letter appears to be an effort to increase employer support for the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act (H.R. 4734).