With an overwhelming vote in the House and unanimous Senate vote, Congress last week passed a bill which prevents companies from enacting so-called "forced arbitration clauses" in employment contracts, which can allow companies to prevent employees from going public with sexual harassment claims. One senator called the act "one of the most significant workplace reforms in the last 50 years." Under the act, employees can choose between private arbitration or public courts to pursue their cases.
Class discussion: Do employees have the right to a day in court to publicly air claims of sexual harassment? What about other claims against employers – like racial and sexual discrimination or health and safety claims? Companies often require arbitration of many consumer and employee complaints. Should those requirements also be banned? Does arbitration save money that would just go to lawyers in lawsuits? Who pays the arbitrators? Do you think arbitrators are likely to favor the party that pays them? Why or why not?
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