As sexual harassment allegations continue in the entertainment, media, and political spheres, companies are making bold changes to prevent further cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, assault, and abuse. In addition to implementing strict training regimes and enforcing the right to free speech regarding sexual harassment in the workplace, a few large corporations, including Microsoft, are banning forced arbitration agreements.
Forced Arbitration Agreements
A forced arbitration agreement is a written contract between two or more people that allows settlements to be made outside of a court room. By enforcing forced arbitration, employees are forbidden from speaking out publicly about claims relating to workplace assault, abuse, discrimination, and harassment.
Most prominently, forced arbitration agreements have allowed harassers to continue practicing misconduct in the workplace, as cases stay out of the court room. Legal settlements that cloak workplace discrimination, assault, and harassment force victims to remain silent and allow perpetrators to continue to act in an inappropriate manner. The new policy change, which will ban arbitration agreements, will give victims a voice that will help to prevent future cases of workplace assault and abuse.
While some victims have been able to speak by finding loopholes in employment arbitration agreements, others have been forced to keep silent. To put a stop to sexual harassment in the workplace, the federal government is working on a law that will ban arbitration agreements. According to the Economic Policy Institute, more than half of American workers are currently bound by arbitration clauses.
Federal Arbitration Bans
Senators have recently proposed new legislation that seeks to make forced arbitration agreements in harassment cases unenforceable under federal law. Lindsey Graham and Kirsten Gillibrand are responsible for the new proposal, which will ensure that victims have a voice by allowing them to take harassment cases to court.
Eliminating arbitration agreements will benefit employers in the long run, as sexual harassment predators will be less likely to climb the corporate ladder without proper punishment in the event of sexual discrimination, assault, or abuse.
Giving Victims a Voice
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission supports the new bill, as they have found that forced arbitration can not only prevent employees from speaking out but can also prevent the sharing of information related to sexual harassment. As of right now, many victims feel uncomfortable speaking about their experiences to other employees due to arbitration clauses as they fear retaliation.
To make matters worse, companies and business leaders are often favored in arbitration cases, according to a study done by Cornell University. When companies bring multiple cases to arbitration court, arbitrators are more likely to side with the company as it is bringing them more business.
Cherry Hill Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Assist Victims of Sexual Misconduct in the WorkplaceIf you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, you are not alone. Our experienced team of Cherry Hill sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. will help you obtain the justice you deserve. With an office conveniently located in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we assist clients throughout the state and New Jersey. Contact us online or call 215-569-1999 to schedule a free consultation today.