One of the greatest accomplishments in California is the concern that the state’s laws and businesses show fair access to work for all populations. The government has recently prioritized fair employment and employee treatment practices to keep the state attractive to workers.
The recent new attention to sexual harassment in workplaces has affected the Golden State specifically. Attention spread from the entertainment industry centered near Los Angeles to venture capital, high-tech innovation and manufacturing. The state government in Sacramento has also investigated claims of harassment in its own halls.
A California State Assembly member representing a section of San Diego recently proposed a law limiting companies’ ability to determine how claims of sexual harassment are handled. Some firms require employees to submit to secret arbitration to manage complaints. This law would prevent that requirement in two-thirds of California businesses.
“In forced arbitration, settlements often require the victim to refrain from discussing the case publicly,” according to the author of the bill. “In a workplace with a culture of sexual harassment, these arbitration agreements are particularly toxic, enabling the abusive behavior to continue unchecked.”
The proposed law would make it illegal to require an applicant or employee to be required to favor closed arbitration in the case of a complaint about sexual harassment, disability discrimination or other workplace complaint. Retaliation against employees who refuse to sign related agreements would also be expressly illegal.
Victims of workplace sexual harassment have the right to seek financial damages or other recourse in open court or through a settlement that may be public. An attorney may help determine the best way to pursue a case to stop or correct sexual harassment.
Source: Los Angeles Daily News, “The #MeToo push could lead to limits on binding arbitration in California,” Margo Roosevelt, April 23, 2018