The “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act,” introduced in the Senate on July 14, sounds like a proposal to help victims of sexual violence. Don’t be fooled. If enacted, the legislation will make it more difficult and more costly for many victims to seek justice.
The bill prohibits employers from using arbitration to resolve sexual harassment claims by employees. Arbitration is a fancy word for resolving disputes out of court. In arbitration, victims can pursue all of the same civil remedies they could otherwise bring in a formal court proceeding in a private, less formal, less expensive setting. Employees who bring their grievances to arbitration typically have their cases resolved more quickly than if they sued in court. They are also more likely to win and collect more money in arbitration than in court.