Maryland Senate bill bars forced arbitration in sexual harassment cases

Under the proposed bill, they would be entitled to a seat at the table when important decision-making is taking place.

The bill was created by a task force focused on sexual misconduct, led by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D-Calvert Co.). A similar panel last year advocated for legislation that would ban arbitration in sexual harassment cases.

“Our senators have given voice to their own experiences, and I am thankful that their voices have been heard,” Miller said in a statement. “I will continue to work closely with the senator who wrote the bill to make this legislation a reality in the next General Assembly session.”

Campbell Fields, 50, of Waldorf, said he was groped in October in a U.S. Senate office by a staffer and then retaliated against for pursuing the staffer.

“It was simply gratuitous and unprovoked,” Fields said. “I felt powerless.”

Fields had a policy for decades at his political consulting firm, where he was able to work.

Fields’ small business director, Riley Rowland, did not receive any money from Fields.

Rowland said he recently retired from the firm and went to police in Waldorf, where Fields lived, to investigate the sexual assault allegation.

“I, personally, have been here for 45 years,” he said. “I’ve never seen this.”

His experience is typical of Fields’ and other past and present Capitol Hill employees, Rowland said. The last lawmaker he went to for help was a Democratic senator in the West Virginia Senate.

The ban on forced arbitration would end after three years of the bill.

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