California lawmakers have responded to the #MeToo movement by passing two bills aimed at giving more rights to victims of sexual misconduct. In order for the bills to become law, they will have to be signed by the governor.
One bill focuses on non-disclosure agreements. Currently, settlements can include confidentiality requirements to keep the victim from speaking about the allegations or perpetrators involved. Under the new law, the victim’s name could be kept confidential, but the harasser’s name could not be. The bill received bipartisan support and endorsements from several public interest groups.
The other bill targets arbitration agreements and seeks to prohibit employers from requiring new hires to sign a document stating that any claim they may have against the company will be handled in arbitration, rather than court. Arbitration is a quasi-legal process with no judge and no jury, overseen by a single arbitrator who is often paid by the company for his time during the process. It is a process that is often seen as unfair to employees because it takes away their right to have their claims heard by a jury of their peers.
If you believe you have been sexually harassed, please consider contacting the lawyers at the Bullman Law Firm. We represent workers, not employers. Our number is (503) 987-5000. There is no charge for your call.