Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is part of the bipartisan group proposing a bill called Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment. It would create a legal limitation on the use of arbitration agreements to cover up allegations of sexual harassment in workplaces. The bill calls for the exclusion of sexual harassment and gender discrimination from the terms of employment agreements that mandate arbitration as the only method for dispute resolution between workers and employers.
Although many workers publicly advance claims against employers in court, private arbitration determines the course of other complaints. This happens because some employees sign agreements as a condition of employment that require them to handle workplace disputes out of court.
The language of the bill does not apply to discrimination claims other than sexual harassment or gender-based mistreatment. If passed, the bill would stop employers from applying the terms of pre-dispute arbitration agreements to sexual harassment complaints that meet the definitions within Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
When a person needs to know how to cope with mistreatment at work, a conversation with an attorney could provide information about employment law. An attorney could evaluate the evidence about the person's discrimination or harassment and suggest how to respond. An attorney might recommend that the person file a formal complaint at work and alert labor regulation agencies. If an employer does not resolve the situation after the attorney explains the legal violations, a lawsuit could be prepared. An attorney could collect information about lewd comments, demands for sexual favors, unfair pay or demotion to demonstrate the discrimination. In court, an attorney could present the information to a jury and explain how the mistreatment impacted the person financially and emotionally.