50 State AGs Back Ban on Sexual Harassment Arbitration Provisions

February 16, 2018

In a letter to congressional leaders, the attorneys general in all 50 states expressed that “while there may be benefits to arbitration provisions in other contexts,” Congress should enact legislation to eliminate mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims to “help to put a stop to the culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims.”  Specifically, the state AGs support “appropriately tailored legislation” to ensure employee “access to the courts, so that they may pursue justice and obtain appropriate relief free from the impediment of arbitration requirements.”  The letter also raised concerns about “the secrecy requirements of arbitration clauses, which disserve the public interest by keeping both the harassment complaints and any settlements confidential,” and applauded companies that have announced that they would discontinue arbitration requirements for sexual harassment claims.  A bipartisan group of lawmakers has introduced a billthe "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act" (S. 2203 and H.R. 4734)that goes much further than it purports to by prohibiting pre-dispute arbitration agreements from covering any Title VII gender discrimination claims, including those regarding compensation, hiring and terminations, and promotions.