Faith C. Whittaker

New Law Ends Pre-Dispute NDA's for Workspace Sexual Harassment, Assault Disputes

December 29, 2022Articles

Dinsmore partner Faith Whittaker and associate Jared Phalen were published in Bank Director with their article "New Law Ends Pre-Dispute NDAs for Workplace Sexual Harassment, Assault Disputes."

An excerpt is below.

On Nov. 16, 2022, the U.S. House of Representatives sent the Speak Out Act to President Joe Biden’s desk with a 315-109 vote. The legislation, which cleared the Senate unanimously on Sept. 29, aims to prohibit the use of pre-dispute nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements, or NDAs, with regard to sexual harassment and sexual assault. After previously expressing support for the legislation, President Biden signed the bill into law on Dec. 7, 2022.

The law builds off the previous amendment to the Federal Arbitration Act, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021. That amendment gave individuals asserting claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault the option to file their claims in court, rather than be subject to pre-dispute mandatory arbitration clauses. The amendment also prohibited pre-dispute agreements that waive an employee’s right to participate in a joint, class or collective action in a judicial, arbitral, administrative or other forum relating to a sexual assault dispute or sexual harassment dispute. Both pieces of legislation are motivated in part by the #MeToo movement and are analogous to state laws passed in California, Illinois, New Jersey, New York and others.

Read the entire article here.