Senate Approves New Workplace Sexual Misconduct Law
Soon enough employers will be forbidden from enforcing arbitration agreements in cases involving sexual misconduct, and instead allow these victims to now seek justice in a court of law.
Recent legislation, that was originally introduced in late 2017 as a result of the #MeToo movement and other social movements, has been passed in both the House and Senate with underwhelming bipartisan support to end the use of forced arbitration agreements in lawsuits for sexual misconduct victims. The bill will now be presented to President Joe Biden for his signing, which notably his administration has already announced its full support for the passing of this bill and signing it into law. Once it is signed, the law will go into effect immediately.
What Does The New Law Do?
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 will specifically ban the forced use of arbitration agreements in cases where a victim has alleged sexual harassment and sexual assault, and restore survivors’ “access to justice and public accountability under the law.”
The purpose of this legislation is to allow the survivor the choice to file their claims publicly, forcing employers to take action in punishing the predators for their advances and actions towards the victim. This is good news in the employment law context because employees who have been victims of sexual misconduct will now freely be able to voice their experiences, and employers will be prevented from hiding their wrongful practices in protecting sexual harassers from the public eye.
Lupita’s job required her to sign an arbitration agreement when she was hired on. She had never had an issue at work before, so she reluctantly signed it. Several months after starting with the company, her direct supervisor, Kevin, had began constantly commenting on her body in front of other employees. She would tell him to stop but was afraid of losing her job. Eventually, she gained enough courage to go to HR. They wouldn’t help her out and stated that she should take it as a compliment.
She took many detailed notes of the sexual harassment she received from her supervisor, and eventually sought legal help with her situation. Thanks to the passing of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, Lupita will not have to give up her rights to a fair trial in court.
This bill is one of the first of many coming down a pipeline of legislation to ultimately forbid the forced use of arbitration agreements altogether in cases involving other instances of wrongful misconduct such as race discrimination, gender discrimination, etc.
If you believe you have a sexual misconduct in the workplace case, please feel free to give us a call at (949) 833-7105 or fill out our contact form below to receive a free consultation about the facts of your claim.