A recent decision in the action Teyo Johnson v. Everyrealm, Inc., et al. before the Southern District of New York demonstrates that broad protections victims are afforded under the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (“EFAA”). The EFAA makes a pre-dispute arbitration agreement invalid and unenforceable in connection with a case that relates to sexual harassment or assault. In Everyrealm, the plaintiff asserted claims for: (1) race discrimination; (2) pay discrimination; (3) sexual harassment, hostile work environment, and discrimination on the basis of gender, race, and ethnicity; (4) aiding and abetting; (5) whistleblower retaliation; and (6) common-law intentional infliction of emotional distress.
The defendants in Everyrealm filed a motion to compel arbitration of claims they asserted were not related to the sexual harassment at issue. In other words, the defendants wanted the court to mandate private arbitration for claims they asserted were unrelated to sexual harassment while claims related to the sexual harassment proceeded in federal court. After conducting an analysis of the statutory text of the EFAA, the Everyrealm court rejected the defendants’ position and found that Congress intended the EFAA’s invalidation of pre-dispute arbitration agreements to apply to an entire case related to sexual harassment or assault rather than individually to claims asserted by a plaintiff. As a result, the court denied defendants’ motion to compel arbitration after finding that the plaintiff had made out a claim for sexual harassment in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law, thereby making his case a “sexual harassment dispute.” As such, the plaintiff can now pursue all of his claims in federal court.
The Everyrealm decision is important win for plaintiffs. Generally, it is preferrable for a plaintiff to have a case heard in open court rather than private arbitration. Also, having a case in a public forum may provide additional motivation for an employer to change discriminatory practices and/or to implement or adopt policies and procedures aimed at preventing discrimination and providing an equitable workplace for all employees. Further, it is often more practical for a plaintiff to have all claims against his or her employer addressed in a single proceeding rather than having to litigate related claims in separate forums.
If you have been subject to a hostile work environment or other discrimination at work, it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and whether you can pursue any claims. To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330 or send an email to email@example.com.
About Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP focuses on complex civil litigation, including securities, antitrust, wage and hour and consumer class actions as well as shareholder derivative and merger and transactional litigation. The firm is headquartered in New York, and maintains offices in California, Georgia and Pennsylvania.
Since its founding in 1995, Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP has served as lead or co-lead counsel in numerous high-profile cases which ultimately provided significant recoveries to investors, direct purchasers, consumers and employees.
To schedule a free consultation with our attorneys and to learn more about your legal rights, call our offices today at (877) 247-4292 or (212) 983-9330.
About Taylor Crabill
Taylor Crabill's practice is focused on employment litigation. Mr. Crabill is an Associate in the firm's New York Office.
Associate at Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP
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