In a decision written by Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can force workers into agreeing to mandatory arbitration when their bosses break the law. The 5-4 ruling in Epic Systems v. Lewis lets corporations off the hook by denying employees their day in court when they are victimized by wrongdoing in the workplace.
This is just the kind of secrecy that has insulated, enabled and protected men like Roger Ailes, Harvey Weinstein and multiple members of Congress. This ruling is the beginning of a series of cases in which deep pocketed corporate interests have been moving up through the courts now that Gorsuch, the deciding vote in this case, is on the bench.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, mandatory arbitration prevents nearly 30 million women from suing their employers over harassment. Attorney Debra Katz says,
“The confidential arbitration process is uniquely ill-suited to prevent and remedy sexual harassment, favoring employers and the harassers they protect. The proceedings prevent potential witnesses from learning of claims and coming forward to testify on behalf of victims or to join group actions.”
Congress must act to protect workers from predatory employers, sexual harassers and abusers. We need laws that help women stand together to fight sexual harassment in the workplace—instead of forcing them into the shadows.