Uber whistleblower Susan Fowler is set to announce legislation Wednesday for California that would change how bosses deal with complaints of workplace sexual harassment and discrimination.
The prospective bill would specifically prohibit employers from forcing both current or potential employees into arbitration, which means they are compelled to have their grievances heard by an independent third-party away from the view of the public eye, rather than having the option of a jury case.
“The bill would also prohibit an employer from threatening, retaliating or discriminating against” any employee who chooses not to sign a waiver giving up their right to bring up other potential violations, according to the legislation’s language.
Joining former Uber engineer Fowler in championing the measure is the California Labor Federation, the Economic Policy Institute, and California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, who officially introduced the bill.
— Susan Fowler (@susanthesquark) April 17, 2018
Fowler said she is “not going to stop until forced arbitration is no longer allowed.”
Having helped start the #MeToo movement by coming out with her personal stories of harassment and unfair treatment at Uber, Fowler is continuing her campaign to change the systemic culture of Silicon Valley and society in general.
“If the news over the past year has taught us anything, it’s that discrimination, sexual harassment and retaliation are pervasive in nearly every industry,” Fowler wrote in a recent New York Times op-ed. “The question is no longer whether egregious mistreatment actually occurs, nor whether it is limited to a few bad companies and industries, but what we can do to ensure that it never happens again.”
Fowler believes ending forced arbitration — what she describes as a “legal loophole companies use to cover up their illegal treatment of employees” — is the best next step for #MeToo movement so companies can be held accountable for accusations, as well as independently-adjudicated verdicts, of abuse.
While incidences of sexual harassment, of course, have always occurred to some degree, Fowler helped further expose the various violations, particularly the ones that seem to consistently occur at workplaces (and elsewhere) across the country. After Fowler detailed highly inappropriate conduct committed by co-workers and superiors, an onslaught of similarly creepy and disturbing accounts from others both within and outside the company ensued. Months after Fowler’s allegations, Uber was hit with another class action legal complaint from two women accusing the company of not doing enough to protect riders from rape, which they claim to be direct victims of. (RELATED: Uber Dismisses Vice President For Omitting History Of Alleged Sexual Harassment)
In fact, several damning reports were published in the months following Fowler’s revealing account, like five women accusing a top Uber investor of sexual misconduct and a top Uber executive analyzing the medical records of a rape victim to ostensibly verify the authenticity of that woman’s statements.
Aside from Uber, a former female engineer for Tesla levied a lawsuit against the company for allegedly paying her disproportionately less than male equivalents, while also ignoring her reports of sexual harassment.
The Daily Caller News Foundation spoke to both Tesla and the plaintiff’s lawyer Therese Lawless, who had very different versions of what exactly happened.
And there are several other similar lawsuits.
Overall, Fowler is considered such a champion and leader of the #MeToo movement that she sold her life rights to producers so her story could be turned into a movie, and potentially encourage even more, like the ex-Tesla engineer, to come out with their own accounts.
Uber did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment in time of publication.
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