Forced Arbitration Protects Workplace Harassers, Not Victims

Posted on behalf of Jeff Pitman on February 12, 2018 in Personal Injury
Updated on November 2, 2022

meeting room in shadowThe latest edition of the PKSD newsletter, You Should Know, covers forced arbitration clauses in employment agreements. These agreements favor employers by forcing harassment disputes into closed-door meetings that tend to favor the company and hide wrongdoing from the public.

In this month’s newsletter, our Milwaukee personal injury attorneys provide some alarming statistics on workplace harassment and discuss legal protections that help prevent employers from using forced arbitration clauses.

Statistics on Workplace Harassment

Unfortunately, workplace harassment is a widespread problem across the nation. Somewhere between 25 percent and 85 percent of woman report experiencing sexual harassment at work, according to an estimate from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

This figure fluctuates because as many as 75 percent of sexual harassment incidents are not reported, according to the EEOC.

There has been increased attention on sexual harassment at work because of the #MeToo movement, which is the result revelations of sexual harassment by high-profile members of the media and entertainment industry.

Unfortunately, even with increased media attention, employers continue writing forced arbitration clauses into employee contracts.

Problems with Forced Arbitration

When employees agree to forced arbitration, they are prohibited from taking legal action in court over harassment. The only way they can deal with harassment is to have a closed-door arbitration meeting with a mediator chosen by the company.

Not only do these proceedings often favor the company, but the company is allowed to hide the outcome from the public and the victim is prohibited from speaking about the outcome or alleged harassment.

These proceedings reduce the incentive for employers to take proactive steps to prevent harassment in the workplace, according to the EEOC. In some cases, these clauses could be opening the door to serial harassment.

Legislation on Arbitration Clauses

Civil justice protections outlawing forced arbitration clauses in employment agreements could help ensure harassment victims have their day in court.

However, laws banning these agreements have been under attack. Last year, an executive order repealed a law prohibiting forced arbitration in employment agreements for federal contractors.

Congress also eliminated a rule that would have removed forced arbitration from contracts for financial services, like checking accounts.

Fortunately, a bipartisan group from the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate has introduced a bill banning arbitration clauses for sexual harassment from employment contracts.

Learn More About Your Legal Rights

Our trusted attorneys are committed to fighting for victims’ rights. We have detailed knowledge of the law and how to determine if your rights have been violated.

Our team is here to answer your questions and explain the legal options that might be available in your situation.

Complete a Free Case Evaluation form or call 877-877-2228.

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