In December 2021, a federal law was signed that bans mandatory arbitration agreements for claims of sexual harassment in the workplace. The new law has significant implications for both employers and employees and underscores the importance of creating a safe and inclusive work environment. At Ricotta and Marks, we are committed to keeping our clients informed about changes in the law and ensuring that they comply with all applicable regulations.
The new law, which took effect on January 1, 2022, applies to all employment contracts entered into or modified after that date. The law prohibits employers from requiring employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements for claims of sexual harassment or discrimination. The law also invalidates any existing agreements that require arbitration for such claims.
Under the new law, employees have the right to file a lawsuit in court if they believe they have been subjected to sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace. This right is important because it gives employees greater access to justice and the opportunity to hold their employers accountable for unlawful conduct.
In addition to prohibiting mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment claims, the new federal law also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees who refuse to sign such agreements. This means that employers cannot fire, demote, or otherwise penalize employees who refuse to waive their right to sue for sexual harassment or discrimination.
The new law is a significant step forward in the fight against sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. It sends a clear message that employers must take allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination seriously and that employees have the right to seek justice through the courts if they believe they have been subjected to such behavior.
To comply with the law, employers should take the following steps:
- Review their current employment contracts and agreements to ensure that they do not contain mandatory arbitration clauses for sexual harassment claims.
- Train HR staff and managers on the new law and the importance of creating a safe and inclusive work environment.
- Review their policies and procedures for handling sexual harassment claims and ensure that they are in compliance with federal and state laws.
- Avoid retaliation against employees who refuse to sign mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment claims.
- Consider providing alternative dispute resolution options for employees, such as mediation or voluntary arbitration, that do not require employees to waive their right to sue.
At Ricotta and Marks, we are committed to helping our clients navigate the complex regulations surrounding sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace. We understand the importance of creating a safe and inclusive work environment and are here to provide guidance and support to ensure that our clients comply with all applicable laws and regulations. Contact us for help if you have experienced sexual harassment in the workplace.