End Forced Arbitration

What is forced arbitration?

Arbitration is an ‘alternative’ form of dispute resolution (ADR) to resolve legal disputes … as in alternative to the courts. Arbitration is “forced” when your employer requires you to sign away your right to go to court at the start of employment, before any legal dispute arises. You may be banned from coming together with other employees to bring legal claims as a group, either in a class action lawsuit or in arbitration. And many employers also have gag rules that prohibit you from about even talking about your experiences with arbitration.

ProPublica has done a great job of reporting how IBM used arbitration to push out 20,000 aging workers. Great primer video for anyone who wants to see the impact of this practice.

Why does it need to end?

Because it denies workers their civil rights.

  • Your employer hires the arbitration firm. Employers like your company are the “repeat customers” in arbitration, so each arbitrator who rules in an employee’s favor risks being rejected in a future case.
  • Research repeatedly shows that arbitrators are more likely find in favor of your employer over you. You are 1.7 times more likely to win in federal courts than in arbitration and 2.6 times more likely to win in state courts than in arbitration.
  • Forced arbitration settlements yield significantly lower damages for you than in federal and state courts.
  • Banning class action lawsuits means you can never band together with your colleagues to share the costs of proceedings or demonstrate intentional, systemic patterns of harm.
  • All rulings are final with no meaningful chance to appeal.
  • No public filings of complaint details mean your employer never has to answer for its systemic or cultural issues.
  • Your employer can limit its obligation to collect or disclose evidence you need to prove your case.
  • At the end of the day, it comes down to choice, transparency and accountability.

Sources: bit.ly/EPIArbitrationStudy, bit.ly/CPDArbitrationStudy