Illinois Congresswoman Bustos’ Bill to End Forced Arbitration Officially Sent to the White House
Today, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos’ (IL-17) bipartisan, bicameral legislation to end forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault survivors was enrolled by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and officially sent to the White House for President Joe Biden’s signature. President Biden is expected to sign the bill into law during a ceremony at the White House tomorrow.
“It was such an honor to join Speaker Pelosi this morning for an enrollment ceremony to officially send my bill to end forced arbitration for sexual assault and sexual harassment to the White House for President Biden’s signature,” said Congresswoman Bustos. “While I am so excited to join the President as this bill is signed into law, I’m even more eager for the survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment across the country, who will finally be freed from silence by the stroke of a pen. This bill will help us end the days when a legal technicality hidden in employment paperwork or terms and conditions can protect sexual abusers and rapists.”
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act will void forced arbitration agreements in any contract if a sexual assault or sexual harassment claim is brought. For employment contracts, more than 60 million Americans would be impacted. That estimate grows exponentially when considering other contracts and terms and conditions where forced arbitration clauses are typically found, such as in nursing homes, property leases, ride-share apps, movers, handyman services and more.
By voiding forced arbitration clauses in the case of sexual assault and harassment, survivors are provided the freedom to decide what legal path works best for them – that can include bringing a claim in court, discussing their case publicly or seeking another kind of legal remedy. It will eliminate institutional protection for harassers and abusers and give survivors the chance to pursue justice.
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.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation with overwhelming bipartisan support on February 7, 2022. The bill then passed the Senate by voice vote on February 10, 2022. It now awaits President Biden’s signature.
The bill was introduced earlier this year by U.S. Representatives Cheri Bustos (D-IL), Morgan Griffith (R-VA) and Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), along with U.S. Senators Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), and Dick Durbin (D-IL), chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has been endorsed by the American Association for Justice (AAJ), Public Citizen, the National Women’s Law Center, the National Partnership for Women and Families, Futures Without Violence, Jewish Women International, Lift Our Voices, National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, National Domestic Violence Hotline, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Partnership for Women and Families, National Women’s Law Center, Public Citizen, RAINN, RALIANCE, and Sexual Violence Prevention Association, the Malouf Foundation, the Elizabeth Smart Foundation and the House LGBTQ Equality Caucus.