Arbitration agreements are common in employment contracts and, up until recently, many employees were often required to enter into employment agreements that forced them into arbitration to resolve allegations of sexual assault and harassment disputes.
When two parties have a legal dispute they may resolve it through arbitration instead of pursuing a lawsuit in court. Arbitration involves a third party who will hear both sides of a disagreement and determine the outcome, much like a judge does in court. Sometimes parties will enter into arbitration after a dispute arises, or they may have entered into a pre-dispute arbitration agreement which basically says ‘if the parties have a dispute regarding the terms of a contract, they agree to resolve it through arbitration, waiving their rights to resolve it in court’.
New Law Barring Forced Arbitration in Sexual Assault and Sex Harassment Disputes
For a long time employees who were victims of sexual harassment in the workplace were not able to bring their grievances to a court of law because of a pre-dispute arbitration agreement. However, earlier this year, the President signed into law the Ending of Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, which prohibits an employer from forcing employees into arbitration in sexual assault and harassment cases. Furthermore employees cannot be barred from bringing collective actions against an employer, even after signing pre-dispute agreement to this effect.
Contact an Experienced Wisconsin Sexual Harassment Lawyer for Answers
If you have been discriminated against on the basis of sex or faced retaliation when reporting sexual harassment in the workplace, it is important to seek knowledgeable guidance. Contact the Wisconsin employment discrimination attorneys of Alan C. Olson & Associates to discuss your situation at 262-785-9606.