Big Changes for Sexual Harassment & Assault Lawsuits

Mar 30 2022

Josh Goodbaum: Hi, Amanda!

Amanda DeMatteis: Hi, Josh! What are we going to talk about today?

Goodbaum: I thought we could talk about sexual harassment and sexual assault. Obviously very serious problems in the American and Connecticut workplaces and very serious claims for employees to bring. And I want to talk in particular about the forced arbitration of these claims. So, as the law has stood for decades, employers could require employees to arbitrate claims for sexual harassment and sexual assault. Fortunately, for Connecticut employees, the law in this area has just changed. So, I’m hoping you could tell us about that.

DeMatteis: Yeah, I can. This is great news for Connecticut employees and employees throughout the country. This bill that was signed into law in March of 2022 eliminates these mandatory arbitration agreements in civil cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault. So, prior to this bill becoming law just this year, these disputes could be mandated to arbitration. And arbitration is secret – it’s not public, it’s not a matter of the public record like a civil lawsuit is that is filed in court. And what that was doing, it was basically chilling these claims of sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace because it wasn’t just forced arbitration – it was forced secret arbitration, which really was having the effect in the workplace of emboldening these sexual predators. Because they could do all of these harmful and terrible acts within the workplace and the public never found out about it. This law makes all of that go away.

So, these mandatory arbitration agreements that we were stuck with in civil cases alleging sexual harassment and sexual assault are eliminated. And that is a huge victory for employees, both in Connecticut and around the country.

Goodbaum: Great news and a great update. Thanks so much, Amanda.

DeMatteis: See you next time.

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josh goodbaum discusses sexual assault laws

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