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AG joins call on U.S. Congress to address work-place issues

 Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale [SN file photo]

Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — Attorney General Talauega Eleasalo Ale has joined attorneys general from all states, territories and the District of Columbia calling on top leaders of the US Congress to support enacting federal legislation to protect sexual harassment victims in the workplace.

“Specially, we seek to ensure these victims’ access to the courts, so that they may pursue justice and obtain appropriate relief free from the impediment of arbitration requirements,” according to the letter from the attorneys general under the National Association of Attorneys General.

According to the letter, many employers require their employees, as a condition of employment, to sign arbitration agreements mandating that sexual harassment claims be resolved through arbitration instead of judicial proceedings.

They pointed out that the employers in boilerplate “take-it-or-leave-it” fashion present clauses, concerning arbitrations, among other things. “As a consequence, many employees will not even recognize that they are bound by arbitration clauses until they have been sexually harassed and attempt to bring suit,” they argued.

“We are aware that the Senate and the House are considering legislation to address this issue. Whatever form the final version may take, we strongly support appropriately-tailored legislation to ensure that sexual harassment victims have a right to their day in court,” according to the Feb. 12 letter to top Democrat and Republican leaders in both the US Senate and US House.