Federal Bill Would End Forced Arbitation Of Sexual Harassment Claims

North country Congresswoman Elise Stefanik joined other lawmakers Wednesday to launch a bill to help prevent sexual harassment in the workplace.

During a news conference in Washington D.C. Wednesday, Bustos said 60 million Americans have forced arbitration clauses in their contracts, but this bill would give them the option of going to court.

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Stefanik, a Republican, is co-sponsoring the bill with other members of Congress, including Democratic U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of NY. Lawmakers say this bill is just one step in addressing the broader issue of sexual harassment.

Forced arbitration clauses prevent survivors of sexual harassment from discussing the nature or basis of their complaint.

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"They are forbidden from talking about what happened, and then they are expected to keep doing their job as if nothing happened to them. No worker should have to put up with such an unfair system", Sen.

Ms. Stefanik commended those who have come forward in recent months to share their personal experiences with sexual harassment. "And by shedding light on these crimes and their perpetrators, this bill will also help prevent these disgusting crimes from ever taking place. Ensuring that sexual harassment and assault claims can not be negotiated away before they occur will create incentives to change the workplace environment, making it less hostile and more respectful". Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Ill, with Ms. Stefanik serving as a co-sponsor.

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