Congressman Cohen Questions Expert Witnesses at a Hearing on Forced Arbitration in Sexual Harassment Cases

November 16, 2021
Press Release
Victims of sexual harassment denied their day in court

WASHINGTON – Congressman Steve Cohen (TN-09), a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, today questioned expert witnesses at a hearing entitled “Silenced: How Forced Arbitration Keeps Victims of Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in the Shadows.” Victims of sexual harassment testified about being denied an opportunity to tell their stories in public after sometimes unwittingly signing forced arbitration agreements with employers.

In his line of questioning, Congressman Cohen focused on the power dynamics of employers aware that forced arbitration gives them an unfair advantage over wronged employees. The Committee will review and consider amendments to H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, on Wednesday.

In his remarks, Congressman Cohen said in part:

“Today’s witnesses and countless others have been sexually harassed or violated by people who thought they could get away with it because they were the boss and the boss gets whatever the boss wants. And especially if they have forced arbitration, they know about it and sometimes you don’t because you don’t get into the contract (language), you want the job, you don’t get into the nitty-gritty and the details and understand it. You have no choice…You get the job or you don’t. So you take it and you expect you’re not going to have that kind of conduct anyway so it’s no big deal but then you have the conduct and they know they’ve got the forced arbitration, so they feel comfortable harassing you…They know they are going to come out the winner. The deck is stacked in their favor.”

See the entire line of questioning here.