UPDATE(09/20/19): In a 225-186 vote, the House passed the FAIR Act. The legislation now moves to the Senate for consideration.
If you were assaulted at work today, what would you do? If you found out your dark-skinned co-worker was a scapegoat for an error made by your white colleague, who would you talk to? If you found out you and everyone working your shift had been quietly shorted $75 per paycheck for the last six months, who would you talk to?
Not sure? Do you think you’d take your employer to public court? Think again. If you check your employment agreement, you might be one of the sixty million Americans forced to handle your ‘dispute’ through arbitration - a private Judge Judy-style setting where the ‘judge’ is hired by your employer and doesn’t need any legal background. No trial, no jury and no public records.
Members of Congress in both the House and Senate have introduced the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (S. 610/H.R. 1423), which protects workers by preventing employers from forcing these pre-dispute arbitration agreements, and prohibits agreements and practices that interfere with the rights of individuals, workers, and small businesses to participate in a joint, class, or collective action related to an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights dispute.
Arbitration is a system which produces unfair outcomes for workers. Workers are 2.6 times more likely to win in state courts than in arbitration, and settlements under forced arbitration yield significantly lower damages. And because arbitration complaints are private, employers may never have to answer for systemic or cultural issues – arbitration claims fail to act as a deterrent for companies to stop bad behavior going forward. This unfair system must end. Congressional support for the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeat Act is at an all-time high with 34 co-sponsors in the Senate and 189 co-sponsors in the House. The time for Congress to act is now.