The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
Lawmakers Respond to Supreme Court Ruling with Introduction of Arbitration Fairness Act
May 4, 2011 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
In light of the recent AT&T vs. Concepcion Supreme Court case, Sen. Al Franken, D. Minn., Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D. Conn., and Rep. Hank Johnson, D. Ga., are expected to reintroduce the Arbitration Fairness Act (AFA) this week. The AFA would invalidate mandatory pre-dispute arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, or civil rights disputes.
Currently, some employment or consumer contracts have clauses stating that if a dispute arises, the parties are prohibited from litigating and must submit claims to arbitration to resolve the conflict. These clauses can affect consumers who purchase products from companies that include them in the terms of agreement. For example, in AT&T vs. Concepcion, the Court ruled that companies can enforce contracts that bar consumers and employees from banding together to bring class action suits.
When individuals are pushed into arbitration without any real choice, they are being stripped of their civil and constitutional right to have their day in court. These clauses often leave the selection of the arbitrator and the procedural rules for the arbitration in the hands of the employer or corporation, leading to an inherent bias toward the company.
Arbitration can be an acceptable alternative when consent to the arbitration is truly voluntary and occurs after the dispute arises.
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights supports the passage of the AFA with the objective of restoring rights of employees, consumers, and civil rights.