Congress Passes Ban on Arbitration Clauses for Sex Harassment and Sex Assault Claims – Bill Goes to Biden for Signature
Yesterday the U.S. Senate joined the House of Representatives and passed H.R. 4445. This Act will give the claimant the ability to void any agreement requiring the arbitration of sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. The Act also voids any agreement containing a class action waiver of these types of claims.
The Act does not prevent the parties from entering into an agreement to submit sexual harassment and sexual assault claims to arbitration as long as the agreement is entered into after the claims arise. However, as a practical matter, very few claimants are going to agree to arbitration at that point.
The Act applies to claims arising under state, federal, and tribal law after the date of enactment of the Act. You can read the text of the Act here: https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/4445/text
If you have an arbitration provision in your Handbook or a stand-alone arbitration agreements with your employees that would cover these types of claims, you should think about revising the language once the Act becomes effective.
As always, don’t hesitate to call me if you have any questions.