Act Relative to the Defense Against Abusive Waivers (DAWA) (H1625/S1049)
Lead Sponsors: Rep. Ken Gordon and Sen. Harriette Chandler
This bill would ban mandatory arbitration in the workplace. Massachusetts has strong laws that prohibit discrimination, retaliation, and sexual harassment in the workplace and has enacted powerful remedies and procedures as a bulwark against these abusive practices. Currently, employers can undermine these protections and violate the civil rights of employees by requiring them to sign a pre-dispute waiver of their rights in their employee contract or as a pre-condition of employment. Under these abusive waivers, claims are often handled by mandatory arbitration, which affords employers one-sided protections such as selecting the arbitrator and holding arbitration at the employment site. The DAWA will protect employees by safeguarding and maintaining their rights to seek redress in court under Massachusetts law in cases of discrimination, nonpayment, retaliation and sexual harassment.
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