In the News

Why A Judge Made Uber Create An Email Address

From Jalopnik: 12/16/2019.

"Among the many provisions that make this clear is the arbitration provision, which requires drivers to settle disputes with the company in private, closed-door proceedings decided by an arbitrator paid by Uber rather than in court. It also prevents them from joining class-action lawsuits such as over their employment status as independent contractors."

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More than half of Maine employers may be forcing workers to sign away their right to sue

From Maine Beacon: 12/03/2019.

"An estimated 56 percent of Maine employers may have made it impossible for their workers to sue them in court for wage theft, safety hazards, sexual harassment, racial discrimination or other violations protected by labor laws."

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Tech Companies’ Big Reveal: Hardly Anyone Files Arbitration Claims

From the American Prospect: 11/26/2019.

"Some new statistics from the nation’s leading tech firms on arbitration serve as evidence for an argument that critics of the practice have long contended: that forced arbitration clauses in consumer and employment contracts build barriers to disputing the conduct of large companies."

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Beware two nasty contract provisions

From the Chicago Tribune: 11/19/2019.

"Welcome to the world of adhesion contracts: Contracts that include terms that are unfavorable to you but over which you had no chance to bargain. Amtrak's policy went into effect last January, but it finally came to the attention of public officials last week, some of whom don't like it. But it's hardly anything new: All sorts of companies have been using contracts of adhesion for years. Although details differ, in travel, the two worst provisions are mandatory arbitration of disputes and forum clauses."

Amtrak’s new ticket rules won’t let passengers sue in a crash

From Politico: 11/08/2019.

"But if such a crash happened today, the victims would not be able to sue. That’s because of a clause the passenger rail line quietly added to its ticket purchases in January, which forces disputes into arbitration with no right to go before a judge or jury."

Read the full article here.

How the Google walkout transformed tech workers into activists

From the Los Angeles Times: 11/06/2019.

"They were approached by the American Assn. for Justice, a nonprofit lobbying group for plaintiffs’ lawyers that was pushing a bill to ban mandatory arbitration across the U.S. Soon, the employee group, End Forced Arbitration, began organizing phone banks, launching educational campaigns, and organizing trips to lobby legislators in Washington, D.C., in their personal time."

These Women Know How to Save the World—All We Have to Do Is Listen

From Harper's Bazaar: 11/06/2019.

"For our 2019 Women Who Dare series, Gretchen Carlson calls up Senator Kirsten Gillibrand to discuss the prevalent—but little-known about—arbitration clauses in employment contracts, how they protect harassers and muzzle sexual assault survivors, and why we need to abolish them for good."

Read the full article here.

Uber's New York bike expansion stymied by dispute over court access

From Politico: 10/15/2019.

"But the “forced arbitration” policy that Uber wants to insert into its user agreements with riders is proving an obstacle. The increasingly commonplace corporate practice prevents users from seeking relief in court when something goes wrong. Consumer advocates deplore it, and so, increasingly, do some politicians."

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Hollywood and Silicon Valley can no longer silence women with this contract clause

From Vox: 10/11/2019.

"Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a bill Thursday that outlaws forced arbitration, a common business practice that US employers use to stop workers from suing them for sexual harassment, discrimination, and wage theft. He also signed a bill that extends the amount of time employees have to file workplace civil rights complaints under state law."

Read the full article here.

DLA Piper Hit by Law Student Protests Over Arbitration

From Bloomberg Law: 10/10/2019.

"Demonstrators from Harvard, Columbia, NYU and Georgetown law schools handed out leaflets in New York, Washington, and Boston. They’re part of a student-led initiative leveraging their status as top Big Law recruits to fight what they says is “harassment and discrimination in the legal profession."

Read the full article here.

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