Washington, D.C. — Today, Senator Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI), applauded Senate passage of the bipartisan Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act. This legislation, which Senator Hirono is a co-sponsor of, prevents perpetrators from being able to push survivors of sexual harassment and assault into the secretive, biased process of forced arbitration. In addition to ending the practice, the legislation would also invalidate existing forced arbitration clauses that prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment survivors from seeking justice and public accountability under the laws meant to protect them.
“Forced arbitration is an archaic practice that provides institutional protection for perpetrators of sexual harassment and assault. It needs to end. Survivors of workplace harassment and assault deserve their day in court. I’m proud to have co-sponsored and voted to pass this legislation which will void existing forced arbitration agreements and ban the use of forced arbitration clauses in sexual assault and harassment cases,” said Senator Hirono.
Forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of everything from employment agreements and ubiquitous terms and conditions to everyday digital click-through “agreements.” For example, many patients who were sexually assaulted in a nursing home or women pervasively harassed at work are currently unable to tell their story in a public court of law because of forced arbitration.
The bill has been endorsed by American Association for Justice (AAJ), Public Citizen, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women & 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, RAINN, RALIANCE, and Sexual Violence Prevention Association.