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New bill would make it easier to file race discrimination cases

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Democratic lawmakers unveiled a new bill this week that would allow victims of workplace racial discrimination to file cases in public court, instead of being forced into arbitration.

Why it matters: Forcing these cases into secretive courts — essentially private courtrooms shielded from public view — makes it harder to hold companies or individuals accountable when they violate workers' civil rights, opponents of arbitration argue.

  • "Forced arbitration denies to many Americans the choice to freely decide for themselves, whether and how to enforce their fundamental rights in a public court of law," said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) who introduced the legislation along with Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.).

Catch up fast: The bill follows last year's passage of a law that bans forced arbitration in cases of sexual assault and harassment.

  • That new law already changed the way employers write employment contracts, employment lawyers told Axios.


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