Californians who have been sexually harassed on the job and believe they might have a strong legal case against their employer are often encouraged to come forward to seek justice. In many cases, they have the right to pursue a claim and be compensated. However, for some, there are contractual issues that prevent them from filing a claim regardless of the behavior they were subjected to. Forced arbitration was often used in contracts to stop workers from filing a lawsuit for sexual harassment, wage theft, discrimination and more. Now, workers dealing with these violations cannot be stopped from filing a lawsuit due to forced arbitration.
A bill signed by California Gov. Gavin Newsom will stop employers from forcing workers to sign these agreements. The law goes into effect in 2020. The bill had been proposed previously, but the last administration vetoed it.
Forced arbitration was problematic, especially with more people coming forward with stories of sexual harassment as part of the #MeToo movement on social media. People – especially in Hollywood and the Silicon Valley – were dissuaded from reporting the harassing behaviors. Arbitration made it harder for complainants to win and they received less compensation.
The forced arbitration rule was perceived as a profound negative for females and minorities. With the new law, workers who were previously hindered can complain about sexual innuendos, unwanted touching, inappropriate behavior, requests for sexual favors and other acts. For help with these cases, a law firm experienced in sexual harassment cases should be contacted for a consultation.