Congress passes right to take workplace sex assault, harassment to court

Thu. February 10, 2022 9:01 PM by Gerald Farinas


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This helps women and sexual minorities who have been victimized twice through arbitration

In a significant milestone to the #metoo movement, Congress passed the right of employees to take sexual assault and harassment cases to court. The legislation nullifies employment contracts that force victims to settle out of court through arbitration.

The bill passed in the House with a vote of 335-97. It then went through the Senate with rare unanimous consent.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said this law will be "one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) said, "If you could ever say any legislation was long overdue, this is it."

President Joe Biden will sign the bill into law.

Arbitration outside of court usually guarantees that an employer would be shielded from public scrutiny, keeping allegations of sexual assault and harassment from becoming public.

Lawmakers like Gillibrand say that arbitration robs people of the right to take criminals to court and ask for justice.

"No longer will survivors of sexual assault or harassment in the workplace come forward and be told that they are legally forbidden to sue their employer because somewhere buried in their employment contracts was this forced arbitration clause," the senator from New York state said.

The #metoo movement began in 2017 after revelations that Harvey Weinstein used his personal and corporate power, and bully tactics, to squash stories of sex crimes he perpetrated.