On Monday February 7, 2022, the House overwhelmingly passed legislation that would allow victims of sexual harassment and abuse to opt out of mandatory arbitration and sue their employers in state, tribal or federal court. This is a huge victory for employees. For decades certain employers, as a condition of employment, have required employees to agree to give up their constitutional right to a trial by jury and have their disputes decided in arbitration, an “alternative” to court. Admittedly, an arbitration proceeding can happen quickly, within months rather than years, but discovery is limited, the proceeding takes place behind closed doors and the fact finder is typically a retired judge or lawyer with a background on the management side.
The bill’s passage had broad bipartisan support in both the House and Senate and is backed by President Biden. We are thrilled that sexual harassment victims who have been stuck with arbitration may finally have their day in Court.