January 14, 2022
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, (S. 2342), introduced by Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) which would prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements for claims involving sexual assault or sexual harassment, now has support from 10 Republican senators, potentially paving the way for Senate approval. HR Policy Association is advocating and urging support for an alternative proposal by Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), the Resolving Sexual Assault and Harassment Disputes Act (S. 3143).
S. 3143 would strike a balance by ensuring victims of workplace sexual assault and sexual harassment have fair due process, while continuing to encourage businesses to utilize arbitration as a means of resolving other types of employment disputes. As such, HR Policy Association sent a letter to the U.S. Senate urging support for S.3143.
Outlook: As previously reported, the Gillibrand bill has already advanced out of the Judiciary Committee and is now ready for consideration by the full Senate and House. With the support of 10 Republican senators, and broad Democratic support, S. 2342 could clear the 60-vote filibuster-proof threshold required to advance legislation in the chamber and could become law ahead of this year’s mid-term elections. HR Policy Association will continue to advocate against enactment of that bill and urge senators to support a more balanced approach as introduced by Senator Ernst. Looking ahead, should one of the bills become law, employers will have to prepare to amend arbitration agreements.