Workplace arbitration bill dies in Missouri House

A bill that would have strengthened employment contracts that require misconduct complaints to be settled through arbitration died an unusually early death in the Missouri House, the Associated Press reports.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Kevin Corlew, R-Kansas City, would have made it easier for businesses to require employees to settle sexual harassment and other workplace misconduct lawsuits through private companies instead of in court.

Corlew’s bill died after he missed a deadline to bring it back up for debate. Although there is a chance for similar bills in the future, lawmakers and officials in Missouri and nationwide have sided against mandatory arbitration.

Critics of the practice say that victims of sexual harassment unwittingly waive their rights to sue in some cases, meaning claims of misconduct remain secret.

Support for Corlew’s bill dwindled in the Republican-controlled House after Attorney General Josh Hawley, a Republican and a candidate for the U.S. Senate, supported legislation against mandatory arbitration.

In Congress, mandatory arbitration legislation faced bipartisan pushback in the wake of the #MeToo movement. One bipartisan bill would ban employment contracts that force arbitration in sexual harassment cases.

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