After passing in the U.S. Senate with a voice vote on Feb. 10, new bipartisan legislation, which would prohibit forced arbitration agreements from including sexual assault and harassment, is on President Joe Biden’s desk.
Biden is expected to sign The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, which was introduced in the House as H.R.4445 last July. The law is significant because it would prohibit employers from forcing employees into arbitration when the latter come forward with sexual harassment and assault claims.
As things are without this law, employers can include provisions of their forced arbitration agreements that include sexual harassment and sexual assault. The purpose of these agreements is to protect an employers’ liability in the event a claim comes forward, but it can have a chilling effect on employees coming forward with sexual misconduct claims at all.
Importantly, the new legislation would not only prohibit employers from compelling forced arbitration for sex abuse claims, but it would retroactively dismiss any existing agreements. This means that if you are currently under a forced arbitration agreement that includes sexual harassment or sexual assault, this law would immediately invalidate those provisions of your agreement once signed into law.
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act previously passed in the House of Representatives with an overwhelming 335-97 vote. It is sponsored by 27 lawmakers from both sides of the aisle.
What Does This Law Mean for Me?
If you are employed under a forced arbitration agreement that includes sexual assault and harassment, The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act will nullify these portions of your agreement once signed into law. This means that you can take legal action against your employer without undergoing arbitration, which can favor your employer’s interests.
If you would like to learn more about legal options that may be available to you after enduring sexual abuse at work, reach out to our experienced legal team at Turner Law Group.