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05/18/2017 | Combating Wage Theft

Justice for Sale: How Corporations Use Forced Arbitration to Exploit Working families

Over the last several decades, corporations have designed a method to exploit working families by forcing them to sign away their legal rights—unwittingly and without alternative—as a condition of doing business with them. In forced arbitration, a company requires a worker or consumer to agree to resolve any potential claims against the company through a binding arbitration process. These “agreements” eliminate the right to sue in court, so that someone who experiences fraud, wage theft, or sexual harassment will face a private arbitrator rather than a judge. These pre-dispute arbitration clauses, which are often buried in the fine print of contracts, may also require individuals to waive their rights to participate in class or collective action lawsuits or to appeal an arbitrator’s decision. Most people are unaware that when they accept a job, make a purchase, or open a credit card, they could be forced into a system that is designed by and for corporations themselves—a system that results in costly fees for workers and consumers, rules in favor of businesses the overwhelming majority of the time, and erodes workers’ and consumers’ rights.

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