Back in 2016, I noted that Congress had a major problem passing major legislation. Of course, at the start of the pandemic, it passed paid COVID leave and related legislation but other than that, it’s been a LONG time since it passed anything significant.
Yesterday, the Senate joined the House in passing H.R. 4445. In summary, this bill invalidates arbitration agreements that preclude a party from filing a lawsuit in court involving sexual assault or sexual harassment, at the election of the party alleging such conduct.
Importantly, the bill also prohibits employers from enforcing class action waivers as they relate to sexual harassment or sexual assault as well.
This follows the trend that had already been sweeping various legislatures on such claims too. President Biden is expected to sign the bill.
For employers, consider updating any arbitration provisions in employment agreements to make it clear that you will not be enforcing such provisions if they are contrary to federal or state law.