The federal government has made a big legislative move to protect survivors of sexual assault and harassment. The House of Representatives passed bill H.R. 4445, or “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act”, that, if passed by the Senate, will give survivors a choice when seeking justice against an abuser. Forced arbitration vastly limits the ability for an employee to take court action for an incident, like sexual assault or harassment in the workplace. In forced arbitration, an employee often must go before a company-designated arbitrator, instead of filing a complaint with a local court. This is system lacks transparency and objectivity. It is also designed to keep company misdeeds quiet and potentially nullify important legal protections granted to all of us by state and federal laws.
The bill passed by the House of Representatives, H.R. 4445, is groundbreaking for survivors. For the first time survivors will have the ability to choose how they would like to handle a dispute like sexual assault or harassment, instead of a company-mandated arbitration. Often-times in cases of that nature, the company that employs both involved parties holds all the power. Finally, pending Senate approval, survivors will have more of a say in handling disputes and feeling safe in their work environment.
Our firm handles cases of sexual assault and harassment. In cases where a company’s avenue may not handle a sexual assault or harassment dispute appropriately, civil litigation provides an opportunity for survivors. If criminal prosecution is not possible, civil litigation not only provides financial compensation for medical expenses, it also seeks justice for survivors. If you or a loved one has been a victim of sexual assault or harassment, please call our offices so we may help you today.