New Federal Law Bans Enforcement of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements in Sexual Assault and Harassment Cases

With a view to keep away from public scrutiny, many employers require workers and potential workers to conform to resolve employment disputes in non-public, confidential arbitration.  In consequence, the deterrent of public publicity is eradicated.

To treatment this at the very least as to sexual harassment in the office, on March 3, 2022, President Biden signed into regulation the Ending Pressured Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (the “Act”).  The Act prohibits the enforcement of pre-dispute necessary arbitration agreements for claims of sexual assault or sexual harassment in the office.

Notice, nevertheless, that the Act applies solely to disputes and claims that come up or accrue on or after the date of enactment (March 3, 2022).  The date on which a dispute or declare arises or accrues is commonly itself hotly contested as is whether or not the allegations rise to the extent of sexual assault or sexual harassment.  Litigation concerning these and different issues is anticipated.

Importantly, irrespective of what the arbitration settlement could say, the Act makes clear that solely a court docket will decide whether or not such disputes should be resolved judicially or in arbitration.  The Act states:  “the applicability of this [Act] to an agreement to arbitrate and the validity and enforceability of an agreement to which this [Act] applies shall be determined by a court….”   (Emphasis equipped.)

In different phrases, nevertheless such disputes are resolved, they are going to be raised in a public discussion board, offering the deterrent of public publicity supposed by Congress.   This can be a clear victory for the #MeToo motion.

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