An article published in the November 2019 issue of the American Association for Justice’s Trial Magazine highlights a new research report examining the devastating impact forced arbitration has had on the rights of American workers and consumers. The report looks at how forced arbitration suppresses claims against corporations specifically when corporations harm workers and consumers by cheating, stealing, or even breaking the law.
Arbitration agreements require that individuals surrender their fundamental constitutional rights to a trial by jury – often without ever realizing they’ve done so. This essentially forces cases involving grievances or injuries that should have been heard in public court to instead be diverted to a private, corporate-funded system where corporations have a dominant hand and are thus enabled to skirt accountability.
According to the report, nearly 60 million U.S. workers are presently subject to forced arbitration clauses for workplace disputes, and of those individuals only 0.02% chose to pursue a claim in a five-year period. These numbers are thought to be influenced by the extremely low rates of consumers who have won in arbitration. The AAJ report shows that in consumer financial arbitrations only 2.2% of consumers prevailed in arbitration, and those participants received 0.2% of the damages they alleged.
About the American Association for Justice
AAJ is a broad-based, international coalition of attorneys, law professors, paralegals, and law students that promotes justice and fairness for injured persons, safeguards victims’ rights—particularly the right to trial by jury—and strengthens the civil justice system through education and disclosure of information critical to public health and safety. AAJ’s mission is to promote a fair and effective justice system—and to support the work of attorneys in their efforts to ensure that any person who is injured by the misconduct or negligence of others can obtain justice in America’s courtrooms, even when taking on the most powerful interests. With members worldwide, and a network of U.S. and Canadian affiliates involved in diverse areas of trial advocacy, AAJ provides lawyers with the information and professional assistance needed to serve clients successfully and protect the democratic values inherent in the civil justice system.