How Ending Forced Arbitration in Sexual Assault Cases Protects Workers

In 2022, President Joe Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (H.R.4445) into law. This bill plays an important role in the work we do at Hunter Law Firm as our law firm recently handled one of the very first cases related to this law in Tennessee.

Employers have long forced employees to sign binding arbitration agreements that limit the exposure of certain heinous acts in the workplace, handcuffing victims and survivors with limited recourse. This led to stories being stifled behind closed doors and perpetrators skirting more real-world consequences for their actions. Thankfully, shunning sexual assault and sexual harassment cases into arbitration instead of allowing victims to work a jury which is more likely to result in a bigger payout is now a thing of the past.

What Does H.R.4445 Say?

This bill does as the title suggests; sexual assault and sexual harassment cases can no longer be governed by mandatory arbitration. This means these cases are able to be exposed to jury trials and draw the benefit of the court of public opinion instead of hiding vile acts behind closed doors.

We’ve seen a massive shift in public perception after the exposure of acts just like this through the Me Too Movement and other instances where people are fighting back against a system built to shame and shun victims.

Can Employers Still Force These Cases Into Arbitration?

Our intuition at Hunter Law Firm is to fight back against businesses that are doing the wrong thing so people and businesses who are doing the right thing are able to shine. If we know one thing about businesses that are doing the wrong thing, it’s that they’ll try to find any loophole to continue doing the wrong thing.

Some businesses are trying to fight back against this bill by claiming that cases where sexual assault or sexual harassment is just a part of the case still need to go through arbitration. For instance, if an employee claims they were wrongfully terminated after reporting sexual harassment then the employer will argue that the case is really about wrongful termination and retaliation, not sexual harassment.

The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act empowers attorneys and their clients to file for a restraining order and injunction to halt any ongoing effort to force these cases through arbitration. This is an important first step to ensure the arbitration case doesn’t move forward while your attorney fights for your right to share your story in front of a jury of your peers. Just because your case has started or entered arbitration does not mean it can’t be pulled out of arbitration and moved into a jury trial.

Protect Your Story With Hunter Law Firm

No matter what your employer says, it’s important to speak to an experienced employment law attorney who understands the nuances of this new law. It empowers workers in Tennessee and across the United States to share their stories at a bigger scale than just being shunned behind closed doors in binding arbitration.

At Hunter Law Firm, we take pride in empowering the people of Tennessee and have already taken on cases that implement the new law. Contact our firm if your employer is attempting to force your sexual assault or sexual harassment case into arbitration and explore your options today.

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