Close-up Of A Janitor Holding Cleaning Equipments On Gray Background

California State Assemblywoman Lorena González Fletcher has introduced AB 3080, a bill seeking to end forced arbitration, according to an article on the ABC10 website.

“All contracts must be voluntary, not the result of coercion and denying a worker their livelihood if they do not sign a waiver of their rights is anything but voluntary,” said Gonzalez Fletcher, who said sexual harassment was a major consequence of forcing employees to settle disputes out of court.

Forced arbitration clauses can keep employees from handling complaints in court. Oftentimes, even after a favorable settlement for the employee, she is bound by a non-disclosure agreement that keeps the harassment or discrimination incident confidential.

The bill passed the labor and employment committee in the Assembly and if it makes it to the Governor’s signature, then it would not work retroactively or eliminate the possibility of private arbitration. It would just make it voluntary.

Female janitors earn some of the lowest wages while also working some of the most inconvenient shifts, in isolation, through the night. Hotel housekeepers are also at the mercy of predators they may encounter in lonely hallways or inside hotel rooms, the article said.

“Most of us work at night, we’re always alone at night. In some buildings, you have to go outside to throw out the trash. We are vulnerable to abuse,” María Trujillo, and activist and janitor for nearly 30 years, said in the article.

When she first arrived from Mexico and started working as a janitor, a supervisor sexually assaulted her. Trujillo said she was fortunate that he got fired, but not knowing the laws and protections available to her, she didn’t report him to law enforcement.

Read the full article here.