Press Releases

Washington—Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) today released the following statement on the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, which passed the Senate by unanimous consent:

“I was proud to support and cosponsor S. 2342, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. This bill is critically important in supporting survivors who have experienced sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace.

Forced arbitration clauses have become increasingly common in employment contracts. According to the Economic Policy Institute, 56.2 percent of private-sector, nonunion workers are subject to forced arbitration. That means approximately 60 million workers in the United States are denied the right to have their employment cases heard by a court.

When it comes to matters of sexual assault and sexual harassment, forced arbitration clauses protect predators and prevent survivors from seeking justice in the courts for the wrongs they have experienced.

This practice of forced arbitration is deeply concerning. Employees are often not aware that their employment contracts contain arbitration clauses, and they often do not understand their effect. Scholars have estimated that 98 percent of workers will abandon their legal claims instead of pursuing them through the arbitration process. Employees who choose to arbitrate are then forced to use company-appointed arbitrators and are not able to appeal the decisions.

Even more troubling, forced arbitration clauses have been used to silence survivors of workplace sexual assault and sexual harassment, and that is unacceptable.

This bill will help protect the rights of survivors by allowing courts to invalidate forced arbitration clauses when the case involves sexual assault or harassment. This will ensure that survivors can bring their claims in court if they choose to do so.

I am proud to cosponsor this bipartisan bill, and I am happy to see my colleagues overwhelmingly support it on the floor today.”