Today more and more businesses and corporations are adding arbitration clauses to shield themselves from liability. These clauses are usually hidden in consumer or employee contracts, job offers, cell phone or cable service agreements, nursing home contracts, cruise ship contracts; the list goes on and on. Most people when they sign these types of documents or agreements are unaware that these clauses are there and by signing, they forfeit their rights.
What do these forced arbitration clauses do to those who sign these contracts? Let’s say you have a dispute with corporation. Maybe it is a dispute over discrimination or a harassment claim. These arbitration clauses stipulate that you cannot take the matter to court. Instead the only action that you can take is to take your complaint to an arbitration forum created by the same corporation you had the dispute with the first place.
Forced Arbitration: The Fine Print Will Get You!
Forced arbitration is designed to favor corporations, and this makes it difficult for the public to hold them accountable for unethical or illegal business practices. Basically, corporations are getting away with this behavior unchecked by preventing anyone from challenging them.
Forced arbitration is hurting Americans in several different ways:
High costs. The price of arbitration is often more than the amount a consumer would recover if the case was successful in litigation.
Safeguards for civil justice that are weak. Forced arbitration clauses restrict a person when arguing their side of a case. It is important to mention that it is nearly impossible to appeal the decision of an arbitrator.
One-sided requirements. Corporations reserve the right to take the matter to court but as a consumer you have to waive your right to litigation.
Biased decision makers. Arbitrators benefit from the businesses that retain them. Thus, there is an incentive for them to rule for a company that hired them if they want to continue being retained in the future.
Secret proceedings. Arbitrations are kept confidential. Even if a case reveals serious safety or public health concerns it cannot be revealed publicly, unlike other law proceedings and court recordings which are open to the public.
Forced arbitration can be extremely confusing and frustrating for the average consumer. At the Syracuse personal injury law firm of McMahon, Kublick & Smith, we have decades of experience in personal injury litigation. Do you have questions to which you need answers? We encourage you to please contact us to arrange for a free case evaluation with one of our experienced attorneys.