Congress Passes Bipartisan Sexual Misconduct Bill

Headline Roundup February 11th, 2022

Congress advanced a bipartisan bill this week aimed at giving sexual misconduct victims more options in seeking justice.

Titled the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, the bill was originally sponsored by Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in 2017. It prevents employers from writing contracts that force people to settle sexual assault or harassment cases through private arbitration rather than in court, and gives victims in the workplace the option to either pursue arbitration or file lawsuits with their own legal representation. The House of Representatives voted 335-97 to approve the bill, with 113 Republicans joining all Democrats in support. The Senate approved it in a voice vote, which typically indicates bipartisan support. President Joe Biden is expected to sign it.

Outlets across the spectrum covered the bill similarly, with some celebrating the bill's bipartisan nature. Not all takes were totally positive. One writer for Vox (Left bias) argued that the law is a loss for conservatives on the Supreme Court who typically "present forced arbitration cases as ordinary contract disputes." One writer for The Daily Signal (Right bias) called the bill a "gross miscarriage of justice" and argued that the court process "often takes years, is vastly more expensive for aggrieved employees, and is less likely to result in a favorable settlement—instead of going to neutral third-party arbitrators."

From the Left
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Congress can sometimes demonstrate an unfashionable truth: It’s still capable of bipartisan achievements — they just tend to take years.

The Senate on Thursday passed legislation by voice vote to reform the way private companies handle sexual assault and harassment cases by ending the use of forced arbitration to resolve workplace disputes. The bill, first introduced in 2017, is more narrow than some advocates had hoped but nonetheless amounts to Congress’ most significant response to the #MeToo movement to date.

And everyone has a different theory for why it’s finally headed for...

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From the Left
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Congress on Thursday gave final approval to legislation guaranteeing that people who experience sexual harassment at work can seek recourse in the courts, a milestone for the #MeToo movement that prompted a national reckoning on the way sexual misconduct claims are handled.

The measure, which is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden, bars employment contracts from forcing people to settle sexual assault or harassment cases through arbitration rather than in court, a process that often benefits employers and keeps misconduct allegations from becoming public.

Significantly, the bill is...

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From the Right
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Victims of sexual assault and harassment soon will no longer be forced to rely on an independent arbiter to settle their cases, following the Senate’s passage of a bill to end such practices on Thursday.

The Senate approved by voice vote a bill that would end forced arbitration in sexual misconduct cases, just two days after it had passed the House, 335-97. All opposing votes came from Republicans.

“This is one of the most significant workplace reforms in American history,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, New York Democrat. “No longer will...

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