The attorney general of every state, U.S. territory and the District of Columbia have submitted letter to Congress seeking to increase protections for victims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The attorneys general urge Congress to enact federal legislation that guarantees victims of workplace sexual harassment access to the courts instead of being bound by arbitration clauses in employment agreements. The bipartisan effort was led by Florida’s Pam Bondi and North Carolina’s Josh Stein. A copy of the letter can be viewed here.
“Decades of private arbitration proceedings regarding sexual harassment have had the unintended consequence of protecting serial violators, and it must end,” Bondi said in a press release about the letter. Commenting about the letter, Andrew H. Friedman of Helmer Friedman LLP said, “The letter from the attorneys general of every state, U.S. Territory and the District of Columbia is a good start but it doesn’t go nearly far enough. We must abolish forced arbitration not just for sexual harassment but for every type of employment and consumer cases. One of the most effective ways we can root out illegal employment discrimination, harassment, and retaliation and end predatory practices against consumers is by ending forced arbitration agreements. Access to our judicial system is a fundamental right and we should not allow corporations to force employees and consumers to give up their Constitutional right to a jury.”