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Jayapal Helps Pass Legislation to End Forced Arbitration, Protect Survivors

Bipartisan bill will end forced arbitration for sexual assault and harassment claims so survivors can seek justice and accountability

WASHINGTON – U.S. Representative Pramila Jayapal today voted to pass bipartisan legislation to empower sexual assault and harassment survivors. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, co-led by Jayapal, which passed by the House of Representatives in a 335-97 vote, will invalidate forced arbitration clauses that prevent survivors from seeking justice and accountability under the law. 

“More than 60 million Americans are subjected to forced arbitration clauses in the workplace, preventing them from choosing how to seek justice for wrongful and abusive treatment,” said Congresswoman Jayapal. “Survivors should have the opportunity to use their voices however they see fit. Today the House of Representatives took an important step towards protecting workers and their wellbeing and ending widespread, systemic abuse in workplaces across this country.”

“We’ve heard a flood of stories of sexual assault and harassment that has gone unchecked for far too long. But little known legal agreements hidden in all sorts of places have continued to bar millions of Americans from speaking out or seeking justice,” said Representative Cheri Bustos (IL-17). “From employment paperwork and lease agreements to the terms and conditions for apps and services, the majority of Americans have unknowingly signed their rights away. Nullifying these ‘forced arbitration’ clauses for sexual assault and harassment claims will let survivors’ voices be heard. The legislation we passed on the House Floor today will do away with these predatory pitfalls – and I’m proud to say that it has widespread support among Democrats and Republicans and in the House and Senate. I want to thank the leaders who have championed this important legislation and negotiated in good faith to get us where we are today. Reps. Pramila Jayapal, Morgan Griffith, Ken Buck and David Cicilline, Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Lindsay Graham and Dick Durbin and advocates like former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson have been instrumental to this bill passing the House.”

“Victims of sexual assault and harassment deserve the right to have their claims arbitrated in an unbiased process,” said Congressman Morgan Griffith (VA-09). “Our bill secures their right to seek accountability for these offenses. I am proud that this bipartisan effort has passed the House of Representatives and look forward to further progress.”

Forced arbitration clauses are buried in the fine print of everything from employment agreements and ubiquitous terms and conditions to everyday digital click-through “agreements.” The bipartisan bill will simply void forced arbitration provisions as they apply to sexual assault and harassment survivors, allowing survivors to seek justice, discuss their cases publicly, and eliminate institutional protections for harassers.

Jayapal has been a longtime leader on workplace safety issues, and was proud to co-lead this legislation when it was introduced earlier this year.