House Poised to Pass Bill Prohibiting Most Predispute Arbitration Agreements

By Chatrane Birbal posted 03-11-2022 11:31


Following the recent passage of a bill prohibiting predispute arbitration agreements in cases of workplace sexual assault or harassment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is planning to bring legislation banning nearly all predispute arbitration agreements in the employment context to a full House vote as early as next week.

The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) (H.R. 963/S.505) would ban mandatory predispute arbitration agreements related to consumer, employment, antitrust, or civil rights matters. The bill contains a stipulation that parties could voluntarily agree to arbitration after a dispute arises.

Last year when the bill was introduced, HR Policy Association joined several other prominent business groups in a letter to Congress urging Members to vote against the FAIR Act. The employer community will distribute a similar letter ahead of a House vote on the measure. In the meantime, the Association will continue to advocate against enactment of the bill.

House passage appears likely: To date, H.R. 963 has 202 Democratic cosponsors and Representative Matt Gaetz (R-FL). Speaker Pelosi is aiming to get the support of all 222 Democratic House members for the bill when it is brought to the floor for a vote. A simple majority vote (218 of 435) will be required for House passage. The Senate companion bill, S. 505, has 39 Democratic cosponsors and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT).

Outlook: The previous version of the FAIR Act passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 almost entirely along party lines (only two Democrats voting against it – Representative Henry Cuellar (D-TX) and former Representative Collin Peterson (D-MN)). Given the current Democratic majority in the House and the support already indicated for the bill, the FAIR Act is positioned to pass the House chamber next week. To date, it appears unlikely the bill will gain the 60 votes needed to pass the Senate as there are no current Republican cosponsors of the bill.