There's a legal loophole that's preventing most sexual harassment cases in the US from seeing the light of day - here's how to fix it

In 2016, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against Roger Ailes, the founder of Fox News. Carlson won a $US20 million settlement and Ailes was eventually fired. However, Carlson says that most women’s sexual harassment stories are kept secret because of a legal loophole. Following is a transcript of the video.

Gretchen Carlson: Now the woman’s not working at the company any more and the harasser can stay and nobody ever knows about it.

In 2016, Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against Fox News founder Roger Ailes. Carlson’s allegations led to his resignation and a $US20 million settlement.

Carlson: So the Supreme Court ruled on arbitration clauses more than 20 years ago. Making them an accessible vehicle for corporations to put them in the contracts. So I guess the excuse was so that we wouldn’t clog the courts with workplace disputes. The problem is that forced arbitration is secret. And so when a woman comes forward with a sexual harassment claim and she has a forced arbitration clause in her contract, nobody ever knows about it. She’s basically given up her 7th Amendment right to an open jury process. And so she’s sexually harassed, she files a claim, her claim goes to arbitration, the company in most cases picks the arbitrator. Only 20 per cent of the time does the woman or the employee win. There’s not the same amount of witness, witnesses that you can call or depositions. And there are no appeals. So the biggest factor is the secrecy element. Now the woman’s not working at the company anymore and the harasser can stay and nobody ever knows about it. So that’s inherently wrong to me. It’s outrageous that women are being silenced in this way on this specific issue. So what I’ve been trying to do on Capitol Hill is take the secrecy out of it. So I’ve been meeting with senators for the last year to try to make this a bipartisan effort. Nothing gets done on Capitol Hill right now. So I know and understand that we need to have bipartisan support on this for it to ever become a reality. And so on this issue Democrats tend to be on my side. I’m really working hard to get Republicans to at least do baby steps and get rid of the secrecy element. And wouldn’t it be wonderful that we would come forward with a bill that would support women and might even wind up on Donald Trump’s desk.

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