Congress Passes Legislation Terminating Forced Arbitration for Sexual Harassment Claims

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_2074546078.jpgSexual harassment is a type of discrimination prohibited by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and other legislation. Unfortunately, the issue of workplace sexual harassment is present in workplaces throughout the U.S. In recent years, however, more and more victims of sexual harassment and assault have come forward with their stories and started standing up for their rights.

Recently, Congress passed an amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act that ended mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment claims. President Biden is expected to sign the act into law soon.

New Law Invalidates Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements Between Employees and Employers

Prior to the amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act, some employees who experienced sexual harassment or assault at work were required to arbitrate their claims before bringing a lawsuit through the court. H.R. 4445 prohibits employee agreements obliging workers to mandatory arbitration. Instead, employees have the option to resolve claims through arbitration, or they may choose to proceed with litigation through the court. The new legislation puts the power back in the hands of the employees, not the employers. The amendment applies to employees who have already signed an agreement requiring arbitration.

The amendment also gives employees the right to participate in class-action lawsuits even if they previously signed an agreement waiving this right. Any mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims will be void.

Proponents Hope the Legislation will Force Employers to Prevent and Address Sexual Harassment

Employers are bound by law to investigate reports of sexual harassment and take corrective measures to stop the harassment. Advocates of H.R. 4445 hope that the legislation will force employers to take sexual harassment prevention more seriously since businesses want to avoid a public lawsuit that could irreparably damage the company’s reputation.

Contact a DuPage County Sexual Harassment Lawyer

If you were sexually harassed at work, you do not have to tolerate this unlawful behavior. The first step is to report the harassment to the appropriate individual or department per your company’s sexual harassment policy. If your employer fails to correct the problem or retaliates against you for filing a sexual harassment claim, you may need to take further action by filing a Charge with the Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR). Thereafter you may have the right to file a civil lawsuit against your employer to seek damages and other remedies.

An experienced Wheaton sexual harassment attorney from MKFM Law can help you better understand your options and provide the legal advocacy and support you need throughout your claim. Call us today at 630-665-7300 and set up a consultation to learn more.



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