Federal Arbitration Act

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The Federal Arbitration Act is a federal statute, codified at 9 U.S.C. §§ 1-16,  that protects the integrity of many arbitration agreements by deeming them valid, irrevocable, and enforceable. As a result of this law, courts do not have the authority to set aside arbitration awards if the arbitration agreement is valid. 

Notably, most provisions of the Federal Arbitration Act do not apply to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce. This exception applies regardless of whether the worker is considered an employee or an independent contractor (see: New Prime Inc. v. Oliveira). 

Additionally, due to the recent adoption of 9 U.S.C. § 402 in 2022, claims involving sexual harassment or sexual assault cannot be forced into mandatory arbitration via the Federal Arbitration Act. 

[Last updated in January of 2023 by the Wex Definitions Team]