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Victims of sexual misconduct testify against forced mediation

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Victims of sexual misconduct testify against forced mediation

“I felt very insecure,” Ms. Spottiswood said. “I was very afraid for my life and well-being.”

Credit…House Judiciary Committee

Affinity spokeswoman Natalie Cerny said in a statement Tuesday that the company “examined Ms. Spottiswood’s claims with independent counsel and concluded that the arbitral decision she referred to was incorrect.”

“Zia Chishti strongly opposes all the allegations against her,” said Ms. Cerny.

The legislation, which was introduced by Representative Cheri Bustos, Democrat of Illinois, and Representative Morgan Griffith, Republican of Virginia, has bipartisan support and would end sexual assault and forced arbitration for survivors of sexual assault.

A similar version of the bill was recently passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The House committee is due to vote on the legislation on Wednesday. If it is passed, it will go before the House for a full vote.

Sarah Parshall Perry, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, testified against the law, saying that arbitration should not be combined with secrecy clauses. Under federal law, she said, employees are allowed to disclose what happened at an arbitration hearing, report what happened and take their complaints to other public agencies.

She warned that the law could force more cases into federal court and lead to longer, more expensive legal proceedings that would not benefit employees or hold “bad actors” accountable.

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“The basic premise of this hearing, that mediation keeps victims of sexual violence and harassment in the shadows, suggests a solution to the problem of harassment and discrimination that is ultimately misguided,” said Ms. Parshall Perry. “By reducing access to mediation, in the end, the same people will be injured whom Congress has sought for almost a century to protect.”

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