Victims of Sexual Abuse Witness Against Forced Arbitration

“I felt very insecure,” said Ms. Spottiswoode. “I was terrified for my life and well-being.”

Credit…House Judiciary Committee

Afiniti’s spokesperson, Natalie Cerny, said on Tuesday that the company had “investigated Ms Spottiswoode’s allegations with an independent attorney and concluded that the arbitration decision she referred to was erroneous”.

“Zia Chishti strongly opposes all charges against her,” said Ms. Cerny.

The law, introduced by Illinois Democrat Representative Cheri Bustos and Virginia Republican Representative Morgan Griffith, has bipartisan support and would end mandatory arbitration for survivors of sexual assault and sexual harassment.

A similar version of the bill was recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The parliamentary committee is scheduled to vote on the law on Wednesday. If passed, it will go to Parliament for a full vote.

Sarah Parshall Perry, a lawyer at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, testified against the legislation, saying that arbitration should not be combined with confidentiality provisions. He said that under federal law, employees are allowed to disclose what happened at arbitration hearings, report what happened, and take their complaints to other public agencies.

He warned the legislation could force more lawsuits into federal court and lead to longer, more expensive legal actions that won’t benefit employees or hold “bad actors” accountable.

“The premise of this trial, that arbitration eclipses victims of sexual violence and harassment, finally proposes a solution to the problem of misdirected harassment and discrimination,” said Ms. Parshall Perry. “Restricting access to arbitration will ultimately hurt the people Congress has been trying to protect for nearly a century.”

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