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Proposed Federal Law Gives Sexual Harassment Victims More Options for Pursuing Claims Against Their Employers

March 3, 2022 Blog

On February 10, 2022, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that seeks to give more rights to victims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed the bill as well, and President Biden has indicated that he will sign the bill into law.

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act Will Provide Important Protections to Employees

The bill, H.R. 4445, is titled, Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (the “Ending Forced Arbitration Act”). If enacted, it will amend the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) to allow employees asserting claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to file their claims in court—even if they have previously entered into an arbitration agreement with their employer. It will also give the same rights to employees who have entered into class or collective action waivers that require arbitration of employment-related claims.

These rights will apply with respect to claims arising or accruing after the Ending Forced Arbitration Act’s date of enactment. The bill also states that the validity or enforceability of an employee’s arbitration agreement will be determined by a court rather than an arbitrator—even if the employee’s contract says otherwise.

The Ending Forced Arbitration Act represents an important step forward in the fight against sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. Too often, employers use arbitration as a shield not only to limit the options that are available to their employees but also to shroud any allegations of sexual harassment and sexual assault in secrecy. By allowing employees to take their claims to court (where they can seek confidentiality protections if desired), the Ending Forced Arbitration Act will help ensure that employees who are victimized have access to the full range of remedies that are available under the law.

Employees can still choose to arbitrate their sexual harassment and sexual assault claims if they choose to do so. While arbitration can favor employers in certain respects, there are benefits to the process for employees as well. The Ending Forced Arbitration Act does not eliminate arbitration as an option entirely but rather makes it the employee’s choice whether to arbitrate or litigate in court.

Are You a Victim of Sexual Harassment or Sexual Assault in the Workplace?

If you are a victim of sexual harassment or assault in the workplace, it is important that you stand up for your legal rights. Sexual harassment and assault are pervasive in the securities industry among many others. By taking legal action, not only can employees protect themselves, but they can also help effect change on a broader scale.

Speak with a Lawyer at Zamansky LLC in Confidence

If you are a victim of sexual harassment or sexual assault in the workplace, our lawyers can help you assert your legal rights. To learn more in a free and confidential consultation, please call 212-742-1414 or request an appointment online today.