It is common for employers to require their employees to enter into a written arbitration agreement at the beginning of the employment relationship. Arbitration, traditionally, is a binding process where a single “neutral” person or panel of neutral persons (usually lawyers or retired judges), agreed upon by all parties to a case, hears the issues and renders a decision. It is usually a formal type of hearing, similar to a bench trial, although there is less formality in the presentation of evidence. There is very little chance of appeal after an arbitration decision is made. In arbitration, there is no jury. Arbitrators have a reputation for awarding less money than juries when victims prevail on their sexual harassment claims. Proponents of arbitration contend that it is sometimes preferable to sexual harassment victims who wish to limit publicity to their sexual harassment claims and avoid a publicly filed lawsuit and open trial. They also argue that arbitration is faster and less costly than jury trials.
Not only is sexual harassment illegal. The law also prohibits:
- Racial harassment
- Religious harassment
- Age-based harassment
- Harassment based on disability
- Harassment based on ethnicity or national origin