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Views The role advisers can play in helping employers address and eliminate sexual misconduct

Jun 13, 2022

Recently enacted legislation finally puts an end to forced arbitration over sexual harassment or assault, meaning these cases can — and will — make their way to the courts. It’s something that should be on the radar of benefit advisers who can help their clients lean into a caring culture that keeps employees out of harm’s way.

The original Federal Arbitration Act silenced victims, protected perpetrators and fed toxic cultures by blocking a victim’s ability to have their voice heard in court. Instead of bringing bad behavior into the light, companies all but erased it by controlling closed-door arbitrations and demanding confidentiality agreements. When sexual harassment was pervasive inside a company, victims had no means to openly name or confront the accused, nor the ability to point to past aggressions that could inform fair decisions. In a nutshell, forced arbitration pushed us all backwards by eroding trust and damaging workplace culture.

Thankfully, that’s changing.