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What is the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act?

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act is a federal law that empowers employees to make informed choices about how to pursue their cases for justice after they have experienced workplace sexual harassment or assault. The law amends the Federal Arbitration Act and allows employees subjected to pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements to pursue in court their sexual-harassment and sexual-assault claims. In other words, employers can’t force employees to go to arbitration and thus avoid juries deciding the cases.

While private parties are bound by arbitration agreements, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is not. Private parties can continue filing charges of discrimination for the agency to investigate and possibly litigate.

When was this law passed?

Following passage by Congress, the Chair of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on March 3, 2022 presented the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act, H.R. 4445 to President Biden for him to sign. The Act is now in effect.

What else should I know about the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment Act?

Some American employers have already stopped imposing mandatory arbitration for sexual-harassment claims while several states have passed laws to restrict mandatory arbitration.

The enforcement of pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements has created a barrier for individuals of sexual harassment assault or who are seeking justice. The law advances America’s anti-discrimination protections by securing the right of workers who are subjected to sexual harassment assault to go to the court.

Secrecy has protected serial harassers from accountability, allowing them to repeatedly abuse employees. Court filings make public legal violators’ identities and conduct. This can deter sexual harassment and assault from occurring in the first place. It can also affect the marketplace, as consumers decide not to do business with establishments or employers with sexual-harassment problems.

How is sexual harassment in the workplace defined in Ohio?

Workplace sexual harassment is the making of unwelcome and inappropriate sexual remarks or physical advances in a workplace. The idea behind sexual-harassment protection is not to eliminate all flirtation or expression of romantic or sexual interest between one person and another. The key is that it should not be unwelcomed. Once you ask or express interest, if there is no reciprocation, stop. Expressing interest once or twice is not necessarily “sexual harassment.” But when the behavior is hostile, severe, pervasive, or persistent—effectively altering the conditions of employment—the line has been crossed into sexual harassment.

If you believe you are a victim of sexual harassment or retaliation for opposing it, you may fill out our online contact form (the preferred method), or call our office today at (216) 578-1700 and speak with one of our intake specialists.

Related Practice Areas
Employment DiscriminationEmployment RetaliationSexual HarassmentSex/gender Discrimination

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