When someone is harmed by a business or employer, they should have a say in how the problem is resolved. Some disputes are best handled by the courts, others can be dealt with in private arbitration. Certain types of disputes, such as when a large corporation illegally overcharges thousands of customers by a small amount, are nearly impossible to resolve outside of a court. But corporations are increasingly using contractual fine print to force workers and customers into private arbitration for any dispute. The powerful corporations that create these one-sided contracts claim it is because private arbitration is “faster” or “more efficient.” But if that were true, there would be no need to take away access to the courts, because customers and employees would regularly choose the “efficient” option. The truth is most consumers or workers lose their claims in arbitration – if they even bring them all.
Forced arbitration clauses are also used to prevent people from joining together to bring class actions against wrongdoers. Consider when a company harms a lot of people, but in small amounts. That type of harm is not realistically resolved by thousands of customers filing individual claims for $30, and the most likely outcome is that zero customers will file claims.
Infrequent attempts with low odds of success for claimants isn’t a side of effect of forced arbitration – it’s the entire point, and it’s why many corporations now require their customers and workers to give up their right to use the justice system.
Public Justice is proud to be a leader in the fight against forced arbitration. In the courts, Public Justice’s legal team takes on arbitration clauses and the corporations who use them in precedent-setting appellate litigation, including recent successes at the Supreme Court. On Capitol Hill, we are a leading opponent of corporate lobbying campaigns to close the courthouse doors. And in the court of public opinion, we work tirelessly to raise awareness about forced arbitration and the real-world people it harms.