Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act Held Inapplicable to Non-Sexual Harassment/Assault Employment Discrimination Claims

In Faith v. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber Technologies, Inc., et al, 2023 WL 5278126 (E.D.N.Y. August 16, 2023), the court (albeit in a footnote) provides guidance on the scope of the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (EFAA).

The court explained, in sum, that the EFAA only applies to sexual harassment or sexual assault claims, and not employment discrimination claims in general:

Plaintiff asserts in passing that the [EFAA] and N.Y. C.P.L.R. § 7515 exempt his claims from arbitration. (See Pl.’s Opp’n at 1.) Neither argument passes muster. First, the EFAA does not apply to Plaintiff’s claims. Under the EFAA, “a plaintiff ‘alleging conduct constituting a sexual harassment dispute or sexual assault dispute’ may elect to render a pre-dispute arbitration agreement applicable to their case invalid and unenforceable.” Olivieri v. Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., No. 21-CV-0046, 2023 WL 2740846, at *5 (E.D.N.Y. Mar. 31, 2023) (quoting 9 U.S.C. § 402(a)). But Plaintiff alleges employment discrimination by Defendants in violation of Title VII and the NYSHRL—not a “sexual harassment dispute or sexual assault dispute” that would trigger the EFAA’s provisions. Second, for substantially the same reasons stated in Uber’s brief, (Defs.’ Mem. at 12–13), the Court finds that C.P.L.R. § 7515 does not apply to the 2020 Agreement’s arbitration provision, and even if it did, it would be preempted by the FAA. See, e.g., Lee v. Engel Burman Grande Care at Jericho, LLC, No. 20-CV-3093, 2021 WL 3725986, at *7 (E.D.N.Y. Aug. 23, 2021) (“[T]o the extent that Section 7515 does not itself carve out agreements that are subject to the FAA, Section 7515 ‘is displaced by the FAA[.]’ (quoting Concepcion, 563 U.S. at 341)) (collecting cases).

In sum, the court granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration and stay proceedings pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act.

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