Biden Signs Law Against Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Harassment
Employers Prohibited to Require Arbitration for Workplace Harassment
On March 3, 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden signed H. R. 4445, Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, into law. Effective immediately, the new law prohibits employers from requiring employees to resolve claims of workplace sexual harassment or assault through arbitration or other alternatives to court litigation, or to waive them in advance.
Ending Forced Arbitration Act
Under the new law, an employer may not enforce a pre-dispute arbitration agreement or pre-dispute joint-action waiver against a person who files a case alleging sexual harassment or sexual assault in a federal, state or tribal court. An individual making a claim of sexual harassment or assault may choose to participate in arbitration or other litigation alternatives. However, they may not be required to do so.
A federal court will make the determination of whether or not the law applies to a particular dispute and not an arbitrator. The Act will apply to any dispute or claim arising after March 3, 2022.
The law applies specifically to cases involving sexual harassment and assault. It does not apply to sex discrimination or other types of harassment or assault. Therefore, it does not prohibit employers from using mandatory arbitration agreements or waivers in other employment-related claims or lawsuits.