Forced Arbitration (VETOED)

WHAT THE BILL WOULD DO 

AB 3080 would address mandatory arbitration agreements and non-disparagement clauses, two hiring practices that often prevent employees from speaking out about sexual harassment or taking employers to court for it. Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, a San Diego Democrat, the bill would make it illegal for an employer to take back a job offer or retaliate if an employee refused to waive his or her right to sue over a workplace violation. And it would prohibit non-disparagement clauses from silencing an employee in sexual harassment and discrimination cases.

WHO SUPPORTS IT

The California Labor Federation, Consumer Attorneys of California, the National Organization for Women and the ACLU of California are among the bill’s backers. It also was publicly supported by former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson, who in 2016 filed a high profile sexual harassment lawsuit against her now-deceased boss, Roger Ailes.

WHO’S OPPOSED

The California Chamber of Commerce, California Hospital Association, and a host of business advocacy organizations strongly oppose the bill, saying it will discourage arbitration, which they argue is a less expensive and time-consuming way to resolve disputes.

WHY IT MATTERS

Victims of sexual harassment are often afraid to come forward, and when they do, they often find that their employment contracts legally prevent them from speaking out about or suing their employers. This bill is aimed both at that issue and at the broader employment practice of forcing workers to settle disputes in arbitration, where judges are more likely to side with employers, instead of in open court.

GOVERNOR’S CALL

Vetoed by Governor Brown on September 30, 2018.

From the governor’s veto message: “Since this bill plainly violates federal law, I cannot sign this measure.”

—Antoinette Siu