Shaheen Applauds Biden’s Signature on Bipartisan Bill to Void and Prevent Forced Arbitration Agreements for Sexual Harassment and Assault

March 03, 2022

(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) applauded President Biden’s signature of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act into law. This legislation eliminates mandatory arbitration agreements in civil cases of sexual harassment and sexual assault, giving survivors of workplace harassment the right to sue their employer in open court. Shaheen cosponsored the legislation and voted in favor of its passage in the Senate last month. 

“The scourge of sexual harassment and violence is a stain on our society, and the barriers survivors face in reporting their assault and seeking justice are unconscionable. I’m glad President Biden signed this long overdue action into law to hold perpetrators accountable without survivors experiencing retribution in the workplace,” said Shaheen. “No one should ever feel unsafe or unsupported at work, and this law marks important progress to combat toxic workspaces. We still have a long way to go, and I will keep fighting for survivors by helping to build a culture of accountability and justice across our society.”

Specifically, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act will eliminate mandatory arbitration agreements in the following instances: 

  • Unwelcome sexual advances; 
  • Unwanted physical contact that is sexual in nature, including assault; 
  • Unwanted sexual attention, including unwanted sexual comments and propositions for sexual activity; 
  • Conditioning professional, educational, consumer, health care, or long-term care benefits on sexual activity; and 
  • Retaliation for rejecting unwanted sexual attention. 

As Chair of the Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies (CJS) Senate Appropriations Subcommittee, which funds programs under the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), Shaheen has led efforts in the Senate to boost services and programs for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. This includes legislation to reauthorize and expand pro bono legal resources for victims and survivors. Last August, Shaheen introduced bipartisan legislation with Senator Grassley (R-IA) that would help ensure federal rights for survivors of sexual assault – which were codified by Shaheen’s Survivors’ Bill of Rights Act – are recognized and protected at the state level. Shaheen has secured the highest funding level ever for Violence Against Women Act programs for four consecutive years in government funding legislation. In fiscal year 2022 funding legislation released by the Senate Appropriations Committee in October, Shaheen against successfully worked to boost funding for the fifth year, totaling $760 million