STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1827
RE: S.C.R. No. 12
Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi
President of the Senate
Thirtieth State Legislature
Regular Session of 2019
State of Hawaii
Your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 12 entitled:
"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION REQUESTING MEMBERS OF THE UNITED STATES CONGRESS TO AMEND FEDERAL LAW TO ENSURE THAT VICTIMS OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT AND SEXUAL ASSAULT WHO MIGHT OTHERWISE BE FORCED INTO ARBITRATION AND SILENCE INSTEAD HAVE ACCESS TO THE COURTS,"
beg leave to report as follows:
The purpose and intent of this measure is to request members of the United States Congress to amend federal law to ensure that victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault, who might otherwise be forced into arbitration and silenced, have access to the courts.
Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Hawai‘i Civil Rights Commission, LGBT Caucus of the Democratic Party of Hawaii; Pride at Work Hawaii; O‘ahu County Democrats Legislative Priorities Committee; Hawai‘i Women Lawyers; Fujiwara and Rosenbaum, LLLC.
Your Committees find that 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. Your Committees further find that arbitration agreements frequently contain secrecy requirements which further disserve the public interest by keeping the harassment complaints and any settlements confidential. Your Committees further find that the United States Senate and House of Representatives are considering legislation to address the issue of forced arbitration and secrecy in sexual harassment and sexual assault cases and thereby enable victims to seek redress in the courts. This measure encourages the United States Congress to further consider and advance those legislative efforts.
As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 12 and recommend its adoption.
Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Judiciary and Ways and Means,
DONOVAN M. DELA CRUZ, Chair
KARL RHOADS, Chair