Kia Franklin

For your arbitration horror stories file…

OverruledBlog's Ian Millhiser writes a hard-hitting piece on HuffingtonPost, uncovering more horrific tales of corporate abuses that, although technically illegal, go completely unpunished and even legally protected by what Millhiser describes as the "traps and tricks" of forced arbitration. Read the full piece, By Trap or By Trick: How Corporations Break the Law and Get Away With It, here.

Millhiser argues that "when judges ignore the law to serve their own deregulatory agenda, people suffer, they lose their jobs, and they even die." He goes on to detail the story of Debbie Dantz, an Applebees employee who worked a job in a demeaning atmosphere out of necessity, and suffered the final blow to her rights when a court enforced a binding mandatory arbitration "agreement" against her that she didn't even sign. In fact, her refusal to sign the contract actually caused her to be further deprived of certain wage protections. You should really read the full story. The details are jolting.

Does Dantz' story sound familiar? It should. Remember Fonza Luke? It happened to them, it could happen to you.

Dantz' situation highlights one of the shortcomings of the choice-based arguments for enforcing binding mandatory arbitration clauses. What if you have no choice but to work in a horrible job environment? Shouldn't, at minimum, your choice not to sign an arbitration "agreement" mean something? Apparently not. Dantz was being deprived of her deserved wages as punishment for not agreeing to arbitrate, in essence an acknowledgement that she didn't consent, yet a court found that simply by showing up to work each day this constituted consent. Bizarre.

Millhiser argues that "the Supreme Court can only ignore the law as long as Congress lets it, however. It is time for Congress to fix the mess the Supreme Court created."

Perfect timing, Ian! The AFA was just reintroduced yesterday. It's important that this issue get more public attention right now. Frankly, I am sick and tired of reading every day about one or another form of corporate misconduct that has gone unpunished, while the public suffers. Let's make sure this becomes law this year!

Kia Franklin: Author Bio | Other Posts
Posted at 2:28 PM, Feb 12, 2009 in Arbitration | Civil Rights | Consumer Rights | Corporate Abuse | Employment Discrimination | Labor/Employment | Legislation | Mandatory Arbitration | Pro-Civil Justice Reforms
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