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Justinian Lane

Arbitration conceals illegal and unethical conduct

In addition to the other reasons many companies lust after mandatory arbitration, there's the fact that arbitration files are sealed.  So if you were forcing your employees to break the law, for example, it would be in your best interest to have an employment dispute go to arbitration. 

As a condition of employment, Amgen requires its employees to sign arbitration agreements. This has been a trend for a number of years in corporate America and the reason is that this method of resolving disputes can be less expensive for employers, since arbitration doesn’t involve the court system.

One former Amgen sales rep, however, is challenging the practice. In a lawsuit, Marc Engelman accuses the biotech of forcing reps to engage in off-label promotion and patient privacy violations to market the Enbrel medication for psoriasis. But he also charges the arbitration agreement is “procedurally unconscionable” and names the American Arbitration Association as a co-defendant.

How is it unconscionable? For instance, the deal doesn’t allow for dispute involving retaliation; limits discovery to a single individual deposition for each party and then only one expert deposition; requires aggrieved employees to pay for a court reporter; and allows only Amgen an exception to arbitration to seek relief in court, according to the suit filed in a California state court. (Emphasis added.)

Pharmalot » Former Amgen Rep Fights Arbitration Requirement

The seriousness of the allegations isn't the only reason I'm posting this.  Note the bold portion.  If arbitration is such a fair and wonderful method of dispute resolution, then why would Amgen want the option to sue their employees?  Probably because arbitration isn't so fair and wonderful if you're in the plaintiff's chair. 

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Posted at 8:24 PM, May 28, 2008 in Arbitration
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Comments

In the bold portion you cited, you ask "why would Amgen want the option to sue their employees?" I think the answer is to take advantage of the unfair system that is the courts.

Oh, for what its worth, Embrel works great for severe psoriasis.

Posted by: throckmorton | May 29, 2008 1:04 PM

ABC covered the horrors of credit card arbitration this morning: http://www.abcnews.go.com/GMA/Consumer/story?id=4955187&page=1

Within hours a business site ran a rebuttal: http://www.businessandmedia.org/articles/2008/20080529170941.aspx

What I find amusing is that it convinced me more than ever that arbitration is bad, LOL! They tried to make light of the case example and failed miserably at invalidating her situation. I think anyone can sympathize with how screwed up her life was as a result of a credit card co's error, and how arbitration worsened everything. It makes me laugh to remember the Chamber of Commerce-backed survey a few weeks ago using a woman who recovered a mere $280-something from Sears as the best example they could find to support arbitration. I think these arbitrators better start looking into retirement or getting real jobs, LOL!

Posted by: Cindy | May 29, 2008 6:41 PM