Binding arbitration is a way for corporations to force you to surrender your legal rights as a condition of doing business, relegating you to seeking redress for breaches and harms by going before a paid arbitrator who is in the employ of the company that harmed you, and who almost always sides with their employer.
Ten years ago, Chase was forced to withdraw the binding arbitration clauses in its credit card agreements as part of a settlement in a class-action suit (the company was accused of conspiring with other banks to force all credit-card customers to accept binding arbitration) (one of the things binding arbitration does is deprive you of your right to join class-action suits!). — Read the rest
Back in January, an Ontario court ruled that Uber's arbitration clause couldn't keep its drivers from suing it; Uber has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada, which has taken up the case and will hear arguments about whether arbitration clauses (through which the parties surrender the right to sue in court) are enforceable in "adhesion contracts" (contracts that are not negotiated, where one party has much less power than the other, such as in click-through agreements).
'League of Legends' developers and others at Riot Games walked out of work en masse on Monday, protesting the company's use of forced arbitration to settle sexual harassment lawsuits.
The waves of protests and walkouts that swept Google last year had many grievances and concerns, from the company's Pentagon contract to supply AI for drones to the secret creation of a censored search tool for the Chinese market, but one central flashpoint was the revelation that the company had paid Android exec $90 million to quietly leave the company after a string of disturbing sexual harassment and abuse incidents came to light.
Forced arbitration "agreements" are how corporate America gets workers, tenants and customers to sign away their legal rights, substituting kangaroo courts where the "judge" is a lawyer paid by the corporation that abused you, and where the rules are whatever the corporation says they should be; The FAIR Act invalidates the use of arbitration to settle disputes over employment, consumer rights, antitrust and civil rights; it has 147 co-sponsors in the House and 34 in the Senate (all Democrats — Republicans love forced arbitration!), — Read the rest
The Ontario Court of Appeal has ruled that Uber can't use binding arbitration "agreements" to stop its drivers from joining a class action suit against the company; the court held that the arbitration clause was "illegally outsourcing an employment standard."
When outraged googlers walked off the job last year to protest the company's practice of secretly paying off serial sexual assaulters and harassers, while denying employees the right to sue over harassment through arbitration clauses in their contracts, Google CEO Sundar Pichai promised revise Google employment contracts to remove mandatory arbitration for individual sexual harassment claims.
Binding arbitration agreements were formalized in 1925, allowing two corporate entities of roughly equal size to resolve their disputes outside of a court, saving both parties a lot of money, but since then, the primary use of arbitration is to force employees, customers, patients and other comparatively weak parties to surrender their right to sue (or join class actions) as a condition of going to work, seeking care, or simply shopping.
Spotted today in my Lyft app: a new set of terms and conditions that require you to "agree" to binding arbitration (an onerous condition heretofore reserved for downtrodden drivers), through which you agree to waive your right to join class action suits or pursue legal redress through the courts should Lyft, through its deliberate actions or negligence, cause you to be killed, maimed, raped or cheated — something that, not coincidentally, Lyft is in a lot of trouble over at the moment.
"I still can't talk about what happened to me because of a non-disclosure agreement," says Gretchen Carlson.
Binding arbitration is corporate America's favorite dirty trick: to use a product, you are forced to give up your right to sue if the company hurts you, cheats you, or even kills you.
Matthew Luckhurst, the San Antonio police officer fired after giving a homeless man a shit sandwich, has won his appeal. KSAT reports that he won the appeal because of a government rule that "prevents law enforcement from disciplining an officer for conduct that occurred more than 180 days before they are disciplined." — Read the rest
Do Not Pay, the "robot lawyer" that can help you do everything from beat a traffic ticket to getting access to services for poor and homeless people, has rolled out a new service: "Do Not Sign," a tool to analyze terms of service agreements.
If there's one issue that the Democrats could win votes with, it's limits on pharmaceutical prices, because virtually every American agrees that we're being ripped off by Big Pharma (and that goes double for Obama Democrat voters who switched to being Trump voters in 2016).
One of the cases that the Supreme Court heard this season was NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. which rolls up several cases where employers are hoping to establish that they can force prospective employees to sign a mandatory arbitration waiver as a condition of employment; if they prevail, the majority of workplaces in America will likely adopt the practice.
Get the popcorn.
The Trump campaign organization has filed for arbitration against Omarosa Manigault-Newman, claiming she violated a 2016 non-disclosure agreement. The former reality show contestant/White House staffer has been blanketing the media with secret recordings she made during the 2016 campaign and while she worked in the Oval Office. — Read the rest
Centurylink is a giant, scammy telco notorious for larding its customers' bills with fraudulent charges, and instructing its customer service reps to do everything possible not to waive those charges; they also open fake accounts in their customers' names, a la Wells Fargo, and then rack up charges against them.
Harry Arnold, the legendary Royal reporter for British tabloid 'The Sun,' used to tell the story of his meeting with Prince Charles, in which the Royal heir asked incredulously: "Where do you get your stories?"
Harry looked up into the air, as if following an unseen fly buzzing above his head, and suddenly shot his hand out, grabbing at the imaginary insect. — Read the rest