Sen. Gillibrand’s Workplace Sexual Assault Legislation Goes to the President
New York’s junior U.S.Senator is celebrating victory in a long-fought battle concerning the consequences of sexual harassment in the workplace.
Congress has given final approval to legislation guaranteeing that people who experience sexual harassment at work can seek recourse in the courts.
Thousands of harassers have been able to go without punishment as victims found themselves bound by hidden clauses in their contracts barring them from seeking legal action or requiring issues to be settled privately.
The move, that has been spearheaded by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand since first introducing it in 2017, is being called a milestone for the #MeToo movement that prompted a national reckoning on the way sexual misconduct claims are handled in the U.S.
Gillibrand reintroduced the legislation last year.
The New York Democrat held a news briefing to announce the passage of the “Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act. She calls it “one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history.”
President Joe Biden is expected to sign the act.
The legislation invalidates existing forced arbitration clauses that prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment survivors from seeking justice and public accountability. Forced arbitration clauses are often buried in the fine print of employment agreements or digital click-through operational agreements.