Owens Applauds Passage of Bipartisan Bill to End Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Rep. Burgess Owens released the following statement after the House passed the bipartisan Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act.

“For far too long, forced arbitration has silenced the voices of victims while protecting abusers and shielding egregious misconduct in the workplace. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act restores the rights of an employee to seek public accountability in a court of law. Passing this bipartisan, bicameral legislation is a victory in our efforts to ensure justice for survivors of sexual harassment and assault.”

The full text H.R. 4445 is available here.

Background on the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act:

  • H.R. 4445 is strictly a carve-out for sexual assault and sexual harassment disputes from the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which was enacted in 1925. It does not implicate or impact in any way any other existing state or federal laws.
  • The legislation does not get rid of arbitration. It simply allows the victim to choose whether to utilize arbitration, a court of law, or an alternative dispute mechanism to resolve a claim.
  • The bill amends the Federal Arbitration Act only for the purpose of determining the threshold question at the very beginning of a case: does a survivor’s case belong in forced arbitration or in court? After this question is answered (by a court applying the bill to a survivor’s case filing), a survivor must then move forward to prove her case under whatever existing laws would apply to her. Nothing in the bill changes that which is required by existing state or federal law to prove a sexual harassment or assault case.

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