Cicilline Votes to Advance Bill to End Forced Arbitration in Cases of Sexual Harassment and Assault

WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman David N. Cicilline (RI-01), Chair of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law, and original co-sponsor of H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, released the following statement after voting to send the bill to the House floor.
 
“Predators rely on silence because as long as their actions are hidden, they are free to sexually assault and harass without consequences. Forced arbitration, when weaponized by sexual predators in the workplace, creates a culture of silence that must be ended,” said Congressman David Cicilline, Chair of the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law. “H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, will finally stop this heinous practice once and for all and hold wrongdoers accountable. I’m proud to work with Congresswoman Cheri Bustos (IL-17) in this effort and look forward to sending this bill to the Senate.”
 
“If we want to end sexual harassment in the workplace, we need to take bold and meaningful action now. That’s why today, I’m proud my legislation with Representatives Griffith, Jayapal and Cicilline passed out of the House Judiciary Committee and is on track to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault survivors nationwide,” said Congressman Bustos, lead sponsor of H.R. 4445. “I’m also grateful to Senators Gillibrand, Graham and Durbin who shepherded this bill through the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month.
 
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act would stop perpetrators from being able to push survivors of sexual harassment and assault into the secretive, biased process of forced arbitration. This important legislation would invalidate forced arbitration clauses that prevent sexual assault and sexual harassment survivors from seeking justice and public accountability under the laws meant to protect them.
 
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.” Patients who were sexually assaulted in a nursing home or women pervasively harassed at work are currently unable to speak publicly or sue in a court of law because of forced arbitration clauses secreted away in enrollment paperwork.
 
The bipartisan, bicameral Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act would simply void forced arbitration provisions as they apply to sexual assault and harassment claims, allowing survivors to seek justice, discuss their cases publicly and eliminate institutional protection for harassers and abusers. 
 

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