Change In Law RE: Sexual Harassment Claims
On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the "Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021," also known as H.R. 4445. This Act guarantees the right of individuals asserting claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault to be heard in court, rather than being subject to mandatory arbitration.
This change in law amends the Federal Arbitration Act and invalidates pre-dispute agreements requiring arbitration of sexual assault or sexual harassment claims, or barring class actions alleging such claims.
This means an employer can no longer rely on a pre-dispute agreement to require employees to arbitrate claims or preclude employees from bringing a class action alleging sexual assault or sexual harassment arising or accruing after H.R. 4445 is enacted. However, pre-H.R. 4445 sexual assault or sexual harassment claims can still be arbitrated, and waivers of class actions for such claims can still be enforceable. H.R. 4445 does not invalidate agreements to arbitrate claims or waive joint actions of sexual assault or sexual harassment entered after the dispute arises.
If you have questions or concerns regarding this change in law and how it affects your business, please contact employment attorney, Nancy Chinonis at Cline, Cline & Griffin, PC.