Emily T. Patajo, Member of the Firm in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s Los Angeles office, was quoted in Business Insurance, in “Arbitration Ban Expected to Increase Harassment Dispute Costs,” by Judy Greenwald.

Following is an excerpt:

Federal legislation forbidding mandatory arbitration in sexual harassment and assault cases will lead to higher legal costs and possibly higher employment practices liability rates, experts say.

H.R. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitrations Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021, passed Congress on bipartisan votes last month and is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.

The measure would amend the Federal Arbitration Act and may create the complication of two-track litigation, where sexual assault and harassment charges are heard by a court and other charges in the same case are arbitrated.

While most employers do not require arbitration, those that do have such policies should review and revise them, experts say.

The measure forbids pre-dispute arbitration agreements in sexual harassment and assault cases and leaves it up to a judge to determine if it is applicable.

The original bill, which experts say resulted from the #MeToo movement, was more broadly worded to include other areas of employment litigation but was amended to gain bipartisan support.

The White House has said it would like to expand the mandatory arbitration ban beyond sexual assault and harassment claims, but such a move likely would not gain bipartisan support, observers say. ...

The court’s 2018 ruling in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, for instance, reaffirmed that the Federal Arbitration Act requires courts to enforce agreements to arbitrate according to their terms.

“There will be an uptick in the sexual harassment types of cases that will be filed, because plaintiff attorneys will know they will be able to succeed in having those litigated in court,” and before a jury, said Emily T. Patajo, a member of Epstein Becker & Green P.C. in Los Angeles.

Jump to Page

Privacy Preference Center

When you visit any website, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. This information might be about you, your preferences or your device and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to. The information does not usually directly identify you, but it can give you a more personalized web experience. Because we respect your right to privacy, you can choose not to allow some types of cookies. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings. However, blocking some types of cookies may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer.

Strictly Necessary Cookies

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems. They are usually only set in response to actions made by you which amount to a request for services, such as setting your privacy preferences, logging in or filling in forms. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not then work. These cookies do not store any personally identifiable information.

Performance Cookies

These cookies allow us to count visits and traffic sources so we can measure and improve the performance of our site. They help us to know which pages are the most and least popular and see how visitors move around the site. All information these cookies collect is aggregated and therefore anonymous. If you do not allow these cookies we will not know when you have visited our site, and will not be able to monitor its performance.