Employment contracts that include forced arbitration clauses may have detrimental effects on victims of sexual assault. This is a point on which lawmakers came to an agreement on Nov. 16, 2021, during a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee.
What representatives and lawmakers across the board now say is that, effectively, the practice of forced arbitration has been taking away the voices of victims of sexual harassment for decades. With this new development in the way arbitration is viewed, it may be a new era for those who have suffered from sexual abuse and harassment while under an employment contract.
Unanimous agreement by lawmakers that change is needed
In July 2021, a bill was introduced by lawmakers that eliminated the option for forced arbitration in disputes that involve any form of sexual abuse. Furthermore, numerous experts are now of the mind that lawmakers will pass another bill out of committee, backed by support from both sides of the aisle, emphasizing the importance of these changes in contract disputes.
A broken system that’s breaking people
While it’s certainly true that forced arbitration has its usefulness in various types of disputes, state and federal lawmakers are voicing their opposition to using it in cases of sexual abuse. As Rep. Jim Jordan, a Republican congressman from Ohio put it, “If the arbitration system is not functioning properly, and is being used to stifle individual rights, we have an obligation to fix it.”
Dealing with contract disputes is always a challenging process, but it’s made exponentially harder when sexual abuse is involved. Now that lawmakers have spoken out against the damaging implications of forced arbitration in these types of disputes, we can only hope that the future will be brighter for the victims of harassment and abuse.