House Bill Would Require Sexual Harassment Reporting as NY Moves to Bypass Arbitration Agreements

February 23, 2018

Sexual harassment reporting measures continue to percolate as Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) recently introduced the “Ending Secrecy About Workplace Sexual Harassment Act” (H.R. 4729), which would require employers to report the number of harassment claims they settle with employees, while worker advocates in New York are pushing a measure to enable employees to bypass arbitration agreements.  Specifically, H.R. 4729 would require employers to annually report on the EEO-1 form the number of settlements reached with employees for sex discrimination claims, including verbal and physical sexual harassment.  Settlements would include:

  • Any agreement where anything of value is conferred to settle a claim; and
  • Any internal mediation or other workplace resolution that results in an individual declining to further pursue the claim.
H.R. 4729 also would prohibit retaliation against any employee who reports any violation of the EEO-1 reporting requirement.  Meanwhile, worker advocates in New York are lobbying the state legislature to enact the EMPIRE Act (A07958), which is similar to California’s Private Attorneys General Act.  The bill would bypass arbitration agreements by allowing the state’s Department of Labor to litigate any alleged labor law violations on behalf of workers whose arbitration clauses bar them from doing so themselves.