Rep. Castor Helps Pass Groundbreaking Labor Bill to End Forced Arbitration for Sexual Assault and Harassment
This week, U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor (FL14) voted to pass bipartisan, bicameral legislation to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault survivors nationwide. H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, will void forced arbitration agreements in any contract if a sexual assault or harassment claim is brought. For employment contracts, more than 60 million Americans would be impacted, and that estimate grows exponentially when considering other contracts and terms and conditions where forced arbitration clauses are typically found, such as in nursing homes, property leases, ride-share apps, movers, handyman services and more.
By voiding forced arbitration clauses in the case of sexual assault and harassment, survivors are provided the freedom to decide what legal path works best for them – that can include bringing a claim in court, discussing their case publicly or seeking another kind of legal remedy. Our bill will eliminate institutional protection for harassers and abusers and give survivors the chance to pursue justice.
“Every survivor of sexual harassment and assault deserves their day in court. I was proud to help make that a reality by helping stop perpetrators from being able to push survivors into the secretive, biased process of forced arbitration. These provisions currently impact more than 60 million Americans – and that’s just the tip of the iceberg. These legal traps are hidden in property leases, nursing home paperwork and in the terms and conditions we agree to every day for ride-share apps, movers, handyman services and more. By passing the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, we’ve taken bipartisan action to void these unconscionable clauses and allow victims to bring their stories out of the shadows. This bill also has bipartisan cosponsors in the U.S. Senate, and it’s my hope that they take quick action to send it to President Biden’s desk. This is another important step towards fostering workplaces in Florida and across the nation that are safe and equitable for all of our neighbors,” said Rep. Castor.
The bill has been endorsed by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), Public Citizen, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, Futures Without Violence, Jewish Women International, Lift Our Voices, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, Public Citizen, RAINN, RALIANCE, and Sexual Violence Prevention Association, the Malouf Foundation, the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and the House LGBTQ Equality Caucus.