States Urge Congress to Ban Mandatory Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Claims

By: Karen L. Piper

On December 6, 2017, a bipartisan group of legislators and senators proposed legislation to prohibit employers from enforcing arbitration agreements for sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims (e.g., discriminatory pay or benefits, discharge, etc.).  “Ending Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act.” HR. 4570; S. 2203.

On February 12, 2018, the attorneys general of all 50 states and the District of Columbia sent a two-page letter to Congress urging Congress to enact this legislation.  The letter of the states’ attorneys general said, “Ending mandatory arbitration of sexual harassment claims would help put a stop to the culture of silence that protects perpetrators at the cost of their victims.”

Such legislation, if passed, could have tremendous impact on mandatory arbitration agreements.  Any employment case that includes a sex discrimination claim would have to be filed in court rather than resolved through arbitration.  Several states, including California, New York and New Jersey, have proposed similar state legislation.

Employers seeking to protect mandatory arbitration agreements should consider notifying their legislators.  Better still, they should work with employment counsel, such as the author, to eradicate sex discrimination and harassment in their workplace.

This article was written by Karen L. Piper, who is Chair of the Legal Affairs Committee of Detroit SHRM, and a Member of Bodman PLC, which represents employers, only, in Workplace Law. Ms. Piper can be reached at Bodman’s Troy office at (248) 743-6025 or For further information, go to:

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