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US Senate passes bill ending forced arbitration in sexual misconduct cases

The Senate passed legislation Thursday that would end forced arbitration for workers who are victims of sexual assault and harassment, one of the most significant changes to employment law in years.

The measure passed unanimously by a voice vote after garnering overwhelming bipartisan support in the House earlier this week. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

Under the legislation, employers would be prohibited from forcing workers to settle sexual misconduct claims in closed-door arbitration venues that often favor alleged perpetrators. Employees instead would be able to file suit in court with their own legal representation.

“This is among the largest workplace reforms, certainly in our lifetimes,” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., who sponsored the legislation, said in a brief interview.

About 60 million workers in the U.S. are subject to forced arbitration, which is also used to resolve disputes involving claims of discrimination and pay disparity.


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