The Franken Amendment has passed the House and is expected to become law. Under the amendment to next year’s appropriations bill, contractors doing more than $1,000,000 of business with the federal government must agree not to require arbitration, rather than court, claims of discrimination, sexual assault, and other employment claims. Six months after the effective date of the law, the contractors are responsible for ensuring that their own subcontractors with jobs of more than a million dollars also abide by the law.
The amendment forbids mandatory arbitration on the following types of claims:
- any claim under title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and
- any tort related to or arising out of sexual assault or harassment, including assault and battery, intentional infliction of emotional distress, false imprisonment, or negligent hiring, supervision, or retention.
The law arose out of a horrendous situation involving a woman who was raped and terrorized overseas while working for an American company. The perpetrators worked for an American company, and our government. Her employment contract required her to arbitrate her claims, and limited her remedies. Senator Franken’s amendment forbids companies from imposing this waiver of rights on people working as employees or independent contractors on major goverment contracts.