Missouri workplace bill dies amid ‘Me Too’ movement

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) _ A Missouri bill to strengthen employment contracts that require harassment and other workplace disputes to be settled out of court has died.

At issue are arbitration agreements. They’re common contracts in which businesses require employees to settle misconduct lawsuits through private companies and not in court.

Republican Rep. Kevin Corlew’s bill would have limited judges’ ability to toss out the agreements, which he says are more cost effective than court action.

Congress is considering a move in the opposite direction to ban the agreements in sexual harassment cases. Missouri Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley supports that move.

Critics say arbitration agreements could mean victims of sexual harassment unwittingly waive their rights to take allegations to court and mean claims of misconduct remain secret.

Facing pushback, Corlew’s bill languished and died.