WATERTOWN, MA — Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark voted Monday to pass the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act, bicameral legislation that would void forced arbitration provisions as they apply to sexual assault and harassment claims.
Getting rid of forced arbitration provisions would give survivors the choice of how to pursue justice, allowing them to discuss their cases publicly and eliminating institutional protections for harassers and abusers.
"Forced arbitration is used to silence survivors and evade justice, and with this vote, we say no more," said Clark in a statement. "The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act gives power back to the survivor by allowing them to secure justice against their perpetrator in whatever legal manner they choose.
"This bill is pro-worker, pro-women, and pro-equality – it's a win for anyone who holds a job, has a loved one in a nursing home, uses a rideshare app, or signs a property lease," she continued. "It's a win for everyone looking to balance the scales of justice."
Clark has long been a champion for survivors of sexual assault and harassment. She is the author of the Bringing an End to Harassment by Enhancing Accountability and Rejecting Discrimination (BE HEARD) in the Workplace Act and also included an amendment in the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act to establish a grant program to train state and local law enforcement to prevent, enforce, and prosecute crimes carried out online and create a national resource center to study online crimes. She has also been an active voice in the fight against sexual harassment of women veterans and employees at the Department of Veterans Affairs.
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