WASHINGTON, D.C. –– Attorney General Karl A. Racine has joined a bipartisan coalition of attorneys general from 56 states and territories today urging Congress to end secret, forced arbitration in cases of workplace sexual harassment. Too often employees are required to sign employment contracts containing arbitration agreements mandating that sexual harassment claims be resolved through private arbitration instead of the judicial process. The secrecy surrounding these proceedings can protect serial violators and provide inadequate relief to victims.
“Forcing employees to sign away their rights should not be a condition of employment – but that is, effectively, what these forced arbitration clauses do in the case of sexual harassment,” Attorney General Racine said. “The fact that the attorneys general of the District and every single state and territory in our nation are united on this question should make clear to Congress just how important it is to ban these unfair and harmful clauses.”
The attorneys general sent a letter Monday to House and Senate leaders, asking Congress to pass appropriately tailored legislation to ensure that sexual harassment victims have a right to their day in court.
“Congress today has both opportunity and cause to champion the rights of victims of sexual harassment in the workplace by enacting legislation to free them from the injustice of forced arbitration and secrecy when it comes to seeking redress from egregious misconduct condemned by all concerned Americans,” states the letter cosponsored by Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi and North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein.
Attorneys general from all of the states, the District, and all five U.S. territories joined the letter: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.