Best Employment Discrimination Attorneys Answers: Can my job force me to arbitrate my sexual harassment claim? How does arbitration work in employment law cases? What should I do if I’m being sexually harassed at work?
One of my passionate goals over the last few years has been to fight forcing employees into arbitration. The great things about trial are the jury and that it is open to the public. Juries are the greatest equalizer. They are fair and come in with less preconceived bias as a whole. Arbitration, on the other hand, is closed to the public and conducted by a single arbitrator selected from a pool that, in our experience, is overwhelmingly white males who are currently or were formerly defense counsel. Do we still get good results, well, sure – but at Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, as one of the three largest exclusively employee dedicated law firms in the United States, we have the resources and knowledge that many employees and law firms do not. Even still, good results are harder to come by and rarely as good as in jury trials. Keep in mind that there are several reasons that employers and their employment law firms demand and fight to enforce arbitration requirements – none of which favor the employee.
Those who oppose letting women present their accounts of being sexually harassed to a jury in open court keep chanting their mantra that arbitration is easier, quicker, and cheaper. First off, jumping out of a twentieth story window is a much easier and faster way to reach the ground, not to mention much less costly than running an elevator, but I’d still prefer the elevator. The truth is that employers are willing to pay $100,000 or more per case to arbitrate a case because it gives them two significant advantages: secrecy and a significantly higher win rate. Employers do not pay that much to help sexually harassed women bring the truth to light and get justice. No one who pushes arbitration is truly concerned about the victims in the slightest. The only thing those pushing to force secret arbitrations in closed rooms really want is to see employee’s rights laying on the sidewalk outside that window.
With this in mind, Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, has assisted various members of Congress and the American Association of Justice (AAJ) to get H. R. 4445, more commonly known as the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, before Congress. As we have previously shared, on November 16, 2021, Spitz attorneys, including Chris Wido and I, accompanied our client, Lora Henry, to Washington D.C. to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. Lora, as well as the three other witnesses, were absolutely spectacular in sharing their stories and educating the Congressional leadership on how forced arbitration keeps perpetuating the cycle of sexual harassment and gender discrimination.
We are happy to report that on this past Monday, February 7, 2022, the House passed the bill by a vote of 335 to 97, which demonstrates broad bipartisan support. A lot of good hard-working people on the Hill deserve tremendous credit and praise for this accomplishment.
The next step is getting the bill passed by the Senate, which also is showing strong bipartisan support. In the Senate, the bill is sponsored by Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand and co-sponsored by Republican Lindsey Graham. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY), the majority leader, stated shortly after the House’s passage of the bill that the Senate would take it up later in the week.
In a Statement of Administration Policy, the White House has further promoted the passage of the bill. The White House’s Statement provides:
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. This bipartisan, bicameral legislation empowers survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment by giving them a choice to go to court instead of being forced into arbitration. Under current law, many employment and other contracts require binding arbitration for a wide range of matters before a dispute arises, which denies survivors the ability to decide whether to pursue their claim with the procedural protections provided by courts, and silences victims of abuse by forcing them into a confidential dispute forum without the right to appeal. …
The Report of the Co-Chairs of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s Select Task Force on the Study of Harassment in the Workplace notes that between 50-75 percent of women have faced some form of unwanted or unwelcome sexual harassment in the workplace. … This legislation advances efforts to prevent and address sexual harassment and sexual assault, strengthen rights, protect victims, and promote access to justice. The Administration is committed to eliminating sexual harassment and assault and looks forward to working with the Congress on the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act as it proceeds through the legislative process. The Administration also looks forward to working with the Congress on broader legislation that addresses these issues as well as other forced arbitration matters, including arbitration of claims regarding discrimination on the basis of race, wage theft, and unfair labor practices.
According to an Economic Policy Institute study, over sixty million Americans have signed binding arbitration agreements as a condition of employment. As President Joe Biden has stated this is a good first step to protecting a larger percentage of our workers.
We will keep you posted for more developments in the coming weeks. Cross your fingers.
Sexual harassment is unlawful under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and similar Ohio laws. Sexual harassment is a form of gender discrimination. If you feel that you are being sexually harassed or are working in a sexually charged or hostile working environment, you should not wait to call the right attorney to schedule a free and confidential consultation. At Spitz, The Employee’s Law Firm, you will meet with a sexual harassment lawyer/hostile work environment attorney to find out what your legal rights are and the best way to protect them. Sexual harassment should never be tolerated. It does not matter if you have been wrongfully fired or are still employed, there is no reason to wait to find out what your legal rights are and how to protect yourself from sexual harassment and gender discrimination. Call our top attorneys in Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Boardman, Akron, Cincinnati and Toledo.
The materials available at the top of this page and at this gender discrimination, wrongful termination, and sexual harassment law website are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. If you are still asking “what should I do if my supervisor asked me to have sex”, “I’m being sexually harassed at my job” “my managers keeps rubbing against me”, “my boss is groping my breasts,” “I’ve been wrongfully fired for reporting sexual harassment,” or “how do I arbitrate my employment claim”, your best course is to contact an Ohio sexual harassment attorney/hostile work environment lawyer to obtain advice with respect to sexual harassment/hostile work environment questions or any particular employment law issue. Use and access to this employment law website or any of the links contained within the site do not create an attorney-client relationship. The legal opinions expressed at the top of this page or through this employment law website are the opinions of the individual lawyer and may not reflect the opinions of The Spitz Law Firm, Brian Spitz, or any individual attorney.