Stories

Cigna (Peter & Glenda Perez)

Those who undergo arbitration can’t speak out b/c they may have a gag rule or are job hunting (having your name in the media as someone who sued a former employer doesn’t help). We’re grateful to Peter & Glenda for sharing their story about taking on Cigna. They continue to look for work after both being terminated, so please check out their resumes and see if you know of any opportunities: bit.ly/peterperez and bit.ly/glendaperez. #endforcedarbitration

Uber (Susan Fowler)

In her 20s, most people are just starting their careers. Susan Fowler, however, had already sent shockwaves through the tech industry with her 3,000 word essay about a culture of sexual harassment and gender discrimination at Uber. Fowler has called for the end of forced arbitration as a clear solution to the problems of inequity in the workplace. Read her full op-ed at http://bit.ly/susanfowleroped.

Uber & Lyft

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Nearly 16,000 drivers at Uber & Lyft filed class action suits as far back as 2013 to fight their misclassification as workers. When both companies tried to silence them with individual arbitrations, the drivers fought back by overwhelming the ride-share companies with thousands of individual arbitration filing fees ... which the companies then did not pay. Workers have protested and finally an Uber engineer issued a statement of solidarity. In March, Uber offered $20 million to settle the class-action lawsuit (bear in mind, the judge previously rejected Uber’s $100 million settlement offer back in 2016). Meanwhile, Lyft drivers launched a strike just as the company went public. See more in Reuters, Tech Crunch and The Verge.

Sterling Jewelers

In 2008 years ago, 69,000 current/former employees of Sterling Jewelers filed charges of sexual harassment, discrimination & wrongful termination. Each was separately forced into arbitration & still awaits her verdict. A sample of the 250 statements from women are listed on the law firm’s website. The victims span CA, SC, TX, SC, MO, TN, IL, NJ, NC, LA, MN, CT, DE, FL, OH, NY, IN, PA, MI, MA, GA, AR, VA, WV, CO, MD, and more. The company’s stock quickly dropped by $750M and led to two shareholder derivative lawsuits. Read the original Washington Post story here. This article from the NYTimes is excellent.

Google (Loretta Lee)

Loretta Lee defied her arbitration agreement with Google and filed a court case for wrongful termination after several experiences with sexual harassment and discrimination. She shared her story with us. After watching this video, you must read this interview with Loretta’s lawyers: bit.ly/LorettaLeeLawyers #endforcedarbitration #googlewalkout #forcedarbitration

UPS (Pamela Davis & Antonio Lino)

You must read the full article on CNN to see the photos too disturbing to display here. See other victims in ABC article.

18 UPS workers filed suit alleging racial harassment & discrimination “One white female driver refused to deliver a package to a predominantly black neighborhood she referred to as "N***** City" and "N*****Ville.” UPS said they "discharged that employee days afterward, and fought the case through arbitration to have the discharge upheld. However, …, an arbitrator reinstated the employee."

This points out two of the worst flaws of arbitration: 1) the lack of an appeals process to overturn flawed decisions and 2) the secrecy that prevents anyone from confirming if UPS did challenge the decision.

Besh Restaurant Group (Lindsey Reynolds)

Tech is a young industry that could learn a thing or two from the restaurant world, especially from the woman who blew the whistle on multi-millionaire chef John Besh for creating a culture of harassment and discrimination at Besh Restaurant Group. Hear Lindsey’s advice on forced arbitration - thank you @lkreynolds for your courage. #endforcedarbitration #googlewalkout #forcedarbitration #timepersonoftheyear #johnbesh @nolanews

Fox News (Gretchen Carlson)

Also check out what happened with the show Bones.

Chipotle (Richard Heggins)

Richard Heggins (NY) is one of the thousands of workers Chipotle auto-clocked out of shifts without pay while he continued working & cleaning. "Chipotle has been fighting claims of wage theft lodged in federal court by current and former workers since July 2013, with the army of plaintiffs having grown to about 10,000 strong. Back in August, the company won a major victory by persuading a federal judge in Denver to eject more than 2,800 of those workers from the court proceedings because they had signed an agreement to bring their claims only via arbitration." Read more at here.

Menards

Menards’ 300 home improvement stores span the country. Despite $10B in annual sales, Menards’ workers from Iowa to Louisiana must fight to get paid. But that fight has lived in the shadows of arbitration.

Circuit City (Tia Holloman)

Tia Holloman (MD) was sexually assaulted while working at Circuit City. But since arbitration isn’t in the court system, if a company goes bankrupt like Circuit City did, you often aren’t entitled to part of the bankruptcy proceedings. Tia continues to advocate for the end of forced arbitration Watch her video and then listen to her extended radio interview with her lawyer to learn more detail.

BLB Resources, Navy (Kevin Ziober)

When Navy reservist Kevin Ziober (CA) was fired for serving his country, he tried to sue for violation of his USERRA (Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994). But his employer BLB Resources tried to silence him by forcing him into arbitration. Read the full story here.

Clean Net USA (Jose Sanchez)

CleanNet USA preys on non-English speakers to open franchises with their savings, but then never make a profit. The franchise agreement has a clause that not only forces franchisees to participate in individual arbitrations, but requires them to participate in commercial arbitration (more burdensome than employment arbitration). In commercial arbitration, parties are assumed equal. But low-income janitorial workers can't afford the costs. Jose Sanchez tried to fight the practice, but CleanNet compelled him into individual arbitration (see bit.ly/cleannet-motion).

Alaska Airlines & WestJet

Flight attendants at Alaska Airlines & WestJet have come out in droves with the #MeToo movement to break their arbitration agreements to report being drugged & raped across the US & Canada. Arbitration protected their harassers and airlines, but no more. Read more here.

Walmart

Walmart never had a direct arbitration agreement w/ its temp workers from LaborReady, but benefited from LaborReady's own agreement w/ its employees - forcing a wage theft suit into arbitration. Read more here.

WeWork (Tara Zoumer)

Tara Zoumer (CA) was one of the WeWork employees who was overworked far beyond what her salary covered. When Tara started talking to colleagues about forming a class action suit, WeWork required all employees to sign updated contracts that required forced arbitration. And when Tara refused to sign the mandatory arbitration agreement, she was fired. Tara has testified in California for two Senate bills aimed to protect workers' rights.

Darden (Namali Sondel)

When Namali Sondel (CT), a former manager at an Olive Garden, raised sexual harassment concerns, she found herself fired. Darden Restaurants then forced her into a lengthy, expensive arbitration process. Read more here. Nearly a third of all Darden workers have signed a petition to push the food & beverage giant ($6B in annual revenue) to end forced arbitration.

Starbucks

Serving up venti-sized violation of workers’ rights, Starbucks has compelled arbitration in three cases (that we know of) wage theft, labor violations and discrimination for sexual orientation. Employees started a petition to end forced arbitration: https://www.coworker.org/petitions/stop-forced-arbitration-at-starbucks

Kellogg

Matt Dunn is fighting the cereal maker that sued its OWN employees in DE, MI, NV, WA because they sued Kellogg FIRST over wage theft. Read more on Bloomberg here or case documents.

Adecco

Workers from Adecco, one of Google’s suppliers, walked out in protest in March in Chicago due to a wage theft operation with another Adecco customer OSI Group. However, Adecco also has forced arbitration in their contracts. Footage courtesy of Chicago Workers Collaborative & Univision.

The following 30 suppliers work with all the big companies and force arbitration on their employees, which often come from the most vulnerable communities.

H&R Block (Melissa Ramsey)

Melissa Ramsey (OH) is fighting the fine print of H&R Block contracts. “[N]o-poaching benefit[s] H&R Block & its franchisees by “restricting competition for employees in the market & artificially suppressing wages.” Read more in the Kansas City Star. However, in March 2018, H&R Block tried to compel the case into arbitration.

Grub Hub

Fifty drivers workers who filed a class action suit for wage theft and misclassification (IL). And a Philadelphia-area restaurant chain Tiffin Indian brought a class action on behalf of 80k restaurants, alleging that Grubhub “has charged commissions for phone calls that did not generate food orders ... Grubhub’s actions ate into restaurants’ revenues for more than seven years.” - Philadelphia Inquirer

NFL

While each NFL team took in $260M in revenue in 2017, NFL security workers are fighting to be paid for overtime. They filed suit in Nov ‘18 accusing the NFL of wage theft & misclassification as contractors. The NFL attempted to compel the workers into arbitration, hiding the facts of the case from the public. Stadiums get huge tax-benefits from local communities & deserve to have transparency into potential team misconduct.

Alorica (Jennifer Fultz)

Jennifer Fultz (IL) found out just how little bargaining power she had when she was fired for refusing to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement with Alorica, the largest customer service provider in the country. Luckily the judge ruled that this violates the labor act.

Pfizer

The pharma titan put arbitration ‘agreements’ in an online training module. Amy Skruse (NJ) found out when she filed for discrimination, though she is not the only person who has filed issues with Pfizer. The judge summed it up perfectly:

More companies: