When allegations of sexual misconduct arise in the workplace, many companies in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area, and across the nation may have procedures in place that dictate how the subsequent process will unfold. For instance, companies could include terms in employment contracts or employee handbooks that complaints of sexual harassment and other workplace discrimination claims can only be decided by arbitration. However, President Biden recently signed a bill into law that brings an end to forced arbitration in sexual harassment claims, providing victims of such unlawful behavior with new avenues through which to protect their interests and seek restitution.
End of forced arbitration
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act was recently signed into law by President Biden. Under this new law, employers will no longer be able to use employment contract terms to force victims of sexual harassment in the workplace to resolve matters only by arbitration, and to prevent them from bringing class action claims. Employers tend to prefer arbitration because it provides employers with greater control over the situation, and it can keep similar matters out of the public eye while providing victims with limited options for legal recourse.
The new law will allow victims of workplace sexual harassment the opportunity to seek accountability and compensation through litigation. This law will prohibit employers from including arbitration requirements in employment contracts for sexual harassment claims and will also nullify arbitration requirements within existing contracts. While having additional avenues from which to seek justice could prove beneficial, those who face workplace sexual harassment may still be uncertain of how best to approach the situation. Some employees may still prefer arbitration due to its confidentiality, and they can still choose that option.
Individuals in the Washington, D.C. metro area, who are subjected to sexual harassment and wish to know more about all their available options could benefit from consulting with an attorney for guidance as soon as possible. An experienced attorney can evaluate the unique circumstances a client is facing and provide insight in choosing the best path forward. Such guidance may play a vital role in helping a person develop a strategy with which to protect his or her legal rights and interests.