President Biden Signs New Act Creating New Paths for Victims of Workplace Sexual Misconduct 

Sexual Harassment

On March 3, 2022, President Joe Biden signed into law an act to permit victims of workplace sexual misconduct the right to seek justice in a courtroom. Traditionally, employers force employees to address any legal matters through arbitration.

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 liberates employees subject to forced arbitration agreements with the option to bring claims of sexual harassment, assault, or discrimination before the court.

History of Arbitration 

The 2021 Act amends the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), which was first signed into law in 1926. It originally served to formalize how disputes between contract holders may be addressed. It established that an arbitrator - an independent individual - may be appointed to settle disputes between employee and employer. 

Arbitration has since become a preferable method for employers to manage legal issues with their employees. Many employment contracts today elucidate arbitration as the sole option to rectify complaints against a company. While arbitration is promoted as a speedier process toward solving workplace cases, it is also desirable to employers for being less costly to the company  and less high-profile than litigation.

What the Amendment Will Mean for Employees

The new Act recently signed into law by President Biden updates the original Arbitration Act to account for recent reckonings with sexual misconduct across the work force. It will allow victims of such crimes to hold their employers accountable in court, where a judge may rule on their case.Biden's amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act accommodates people who have suffered sexual harassment, assault, and discrimination to seriously prosecute their issues beyond the scene of the crime.

The option to seek justice in court will offer victims a thorough, formal investigation into their attackers. While court proceedings may take more time than arbitration, they have shown to be more successful for plaintiffs. Court decisions, unlike arbitration, can also be appealed. Should a victim be dissatisfied with the decision of the court, they may appeal their case to a higher one for another review. 

This legal carveout is the first of its kind. Other forms of discrimination on the basis of race, disability, or religion are still subject to forced arbitration agreements. Overall, The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 is a progressive step for employees everywhere. It signals to companies that sexual misconduct is to be viewed as a serious problem with serious payouts.

Seek Legal Assistance Today

If you are experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace, seek legal assistance from the Law Office of Christopher Q. Davis, located in New York City and Livingston, NJ. Contact us today at (646) 430-7930 to schedule a free case evaluation and receive experienced legal counsel.