Employers are requiring with greater frequency that employees accept mandatory arbitration as a condition of employment. In difficult economic times, employees are less likely to reject a job conditioned upon accepting mandatory arbitration. Indeed, employees often agree to waive their rights to go to court over future employment disputes in exchange for at-will employment. Although arbitrations are not inherently inappropriate for resolving employment disputes, an employee’s acceptance of mandatory arbitration is rarely, if ever, voluntary.
Mandatory arbitration agreements are nearly always the product of unequal bargaining power between employers and employees. Why else would employees voluntarily agree to a procedure that deprives them of the right to seek redress through the court system?
The Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009 (Bill) was introduced into the House of Representatives in February 2009, and seeks to render unenforceable any pre-dispute arbitration agreement in three types of disputes: employment disputes between employers and employees; consumer disputes; and franchise disputes. The bill would not prevent employers and employees from agreeing to arbitration once a dispute arises.
Polls indicate that the majority of Americans support the Arbitration Fairness Act. Nevertheless, corporations oppose the bill and are doing what they can to prevent it from being enacted. Consequently, it is important that employees actively support the bill by urging members of Congress to enact it into law. For further information, you can click here.