NEW FEDERAL LEGISLATION RAISES MULTIPLE QUESTIONS REGARDING LITIGATION OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND SEXUAL HARASSMENT CASES AND AFFECTS RECENT STATE LEGISLATION
Written by Hon. Allan J. Goodman (Ret.)*
Federal law affecting predispute arbitration agreements in sexual assault and sexual harassment matters changed significantly in March of this year. This article discusses what those changes are or may be. It also addresses related California legislation.
THE FEDERAL LEGISLATION
Key provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) are set out in chapter 1 of title 9 of the United States Code. Section 1 of this chapter contains definitions of terms, including of the term "commerce." Section 2, with exceptions not necessary for discussion here, has provided the federal statutory basis for arbitration of disputes: that the disputes involve contracts "evidencing a transaction in commerce" … "save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract." At least, that was the reach of the FAA until section 2 was amended, effective March 3, 2022.