A new bill has been proposed to help employees, consumers, and others challenge the enforceability of contracts that mandate that disputes be heard by a board of arbitrators instead of by a jury or a judge. Forcing employees to submit to arbitration prevents employees from fully asserting their rights and holding employers who discriminate and commit other wrongs accountable.
The bill is in response to abuses of the Fair Arbitration Act which was passed in 1925 to help companies with equal bargaining power resolve their disputes. The U.S. Supreme Court and other courts have held that the Fair Arbitration Act applies to almost any written contract between and employer and an employee or a company and a consumer.
Private arbitration normally lacks the discovery ability and procedural due process that allows employees and consumers the ability to prosecute their claim. Arbitrations are not transparent and not subject to judicial review. While it may be faster and cheaper, in some cases, private arbitration is generally a huge advantage for the large employer. That’s why employers and most business oppose any limits on mandatory arbitration clauses.
The Arbitration Fairness Act proposes:
- To limit the scope of the Federal Arbitration Act to its original limited scope. The Act invalidates mandatory arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, civil rights, and antitrust lawsuits. The parties can agree to arbitration after the dispute arises – but not before the dispute occurs.
- To require that litigants be allowed to bring their disputes in civil court.
- That bringing cases in civil court instead of mandatory arbitration is necessary for the integrity of various discrimination laws such as the Civil Rights Act, the Equal Pay Act, the Americans with Disability Act, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act
The Act does not apply to disputes between an employer and a labor organization with the exception that individual employees should have the right to bring civil court claims for violations of federal or state laws or Constitutions.
To learn more about your employee rights, please contact Stephen F. Danz and Associates by calling us at (877)-789-9707. We have locations throughout California. We bring the right case in the right forum.