Employment Law Blog

On November 16, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Speak Out Act, which seeks to nullify some nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) in sexual harassment and assault disputes. The Senate previously passed the bill on September 29, 2022, and President Biden indicated he would sign the measure once it reached his desk.

Starting on November 24, 2022, workers in New York who were sexually assaulted (often within the context of an employment relationship) but time-barred from pursuing a legal action will have an opportunity to seek legal redress through a civil claim.

This week, Congress passed what may shape up to be one of the most groundbreaking employment laws passed in the last decades. The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (H.R. 4445) amends part of the Federal Arbitration Act that props up forced arbitration agreements for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims. Because of this new law, victims of sexual harassment and assault will no longer be silenced or forced to give up their day in court and will be able to publicly hold perpetrators responsible. We hope that this may soon also be the case for workers who are victims of other forms of workplace discrimination and wage theft, ending forced arbitration for all workers’ rights violations.

Congress recently passed a groundbreaking new law that will amend certain sections of the Federal Arbitration Act, and allow victims of workplace sexual harassment and sexual assault to have their day in court. This bill has significant benefits for workers, including giving worker’s options for litigating sexual harassment and sexual assault claims and the ability to take part in joint, class and collective actions against perpetrators. This law may provide a pathway to end employers continued use of forced arbitration agreements in all workers’rights disputes.

Darnley D. Stewart and Luis Hansen recently obtained a federal appellate victory on behalf of two female pre-trial detainees who were sexually harassed and assaulted by a corrections officer at the Riverhead Jail in Suffolk County, New York. The ruling of the appellate panel – authored by a judge appointed by former President Trump – is significant and creates new law.