The incredible journey that I took in Capstone was writing about the #MeToo Movement and how it changed our country, the world, forced arbitration, and the future as we know it. I offer the following exposition of what my paper is about:
The #Me Too Movement has made several positive changes by raising awareness of the prevalence and harmful impact of sexual violence. The enactment of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 being its greatest achievement. In addition, states are banning nondisclosure agreements that cover sexual harassment and introducing protections for more workers, the movement to end the tipped minimum wage is gaining steam, some survivors are getting financial restitution, Congress has reformed some of its process for staffers reporting sexual harassment, and – very importantly – Americans have changed how they think about power.
Arbitration can be a very useful means of resolving contractual disputes between management and labor, addressing interests of different parties in bargaining situation such as public sector labor relations, settling litigated claims through court-annexed programs, and resolving community disputes. However, the resolution of a claim of discrimination by third parties who are not attorneys and even if they are attorneys, they may not be “good attorneys” and, therefore, may be limited in their attention to detail and fact-finding. Even worse, these arbitrators have very few limitations to their discretion and decision-making during the arbitration process absent prior restraints imposed by legal counsel for each participant. Unless the parties stipulate to applicable legal principals in their agreement to arbitrate, arbitrators often do not follow the law, and disputes are often decided solely upon an arbitrator’s view of what is “right” or “fair”. Discrimination cases – especially those involving sexual harassment or sexual assault – should not be left up to the “right” or “fair” opinion of someone who does not know how to practice law. Certain harassment issues could be personal and triggering for the arbitrator, and there is no place for that when it comes to deciding a case. To quote Aristotle, “The law is reason, free from passion.”.