As we continue to report on various misconduct throughout the tech and video game industry, one of the more notable issues in the matter, particularly in regards to sexual harassment, has been forced arbitration. That is, a company reserving the right to force employees to come to the table and discuss harassment internally over going to court on the matter. That is one issue that is about to be amended under President Joe Biden, who has just signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021.
President Biden signed the aforementioned Act into law on March 4, 2022, as reported on the US Presidential Twitter. On the federal level, it takes away companies’ power to force employee victims of sexual harassment into arbitration within the company. Employees will now have the reserved freedom to choose whether to pursue sexual harassment and sexual assault claims in court or through arbitration. A company will no longer be able to set the terms on the situation by which employees’ claims are addressed.
I signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 into law. This is a momentous day for justice and fairness in the workplace. For those who experience sexual harassment or assault, you have a right today that you did not have yesterday.
— President Biden (@POTUS)
The Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 is a major play by the Biden Administration in the case of ongoing misconduct and sexual harassment claims. There have been no lack of claims of sexual harassment and discrimination against the likes of Activision Blizzard, Ubisoft, and Apple to name a few. However, many of these matters were previously able to be settled by the company privately and with little rights reserved by the employees, especially depending on the state the company operates out of. With this move, rights and protections of employees in these particularly heinous circumstances are protected.
It will remain to be seen how much of an effect Biden’s new law has on companies facing various allegations, but given the unfortunate trends in industries like tech and gaming over the last few years, it seems likely that this will be better for employees in the long run.