From Social Media to Social Change: Will #MeToo Alter California Arbitration Law?

Employment Law Commentary, Volume 30, Issue 6

June 2018

What began as a hashtag trending on Twitter may spur major change in the legislative arena in California. #MeToo not only brought global attention to the magnitude of sexual harassment and assault but also sparked a much-needed conversation about how to combat the problem outside of cyberspace. In the workplace, issues regarding sexual harassment, sex discrimination, and retaliation have moved to the forefront of the California Legislature as it attempts to address perceived shortcomings posed by mandatory arbitration. One bill getting particular attention is Assembly Bill 3080, introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher. It specifically aims to ban employers from requiring workers to agree to arbitration as a condition of employment. Although the bill has passed the Assembly, challenges regarding preemption and significant employer opposition may ultimately send the Legislature back to the drawing board. In this article, we provide an analysis of the history of #MeToo, the aim of the pending legislation, and the conflicts with federal and case law that may well derail the legislation.

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