Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act) (H.R. 1423), voted out of committee today, garnered enough co-sponsors to pass on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives later this month. It bans forced arbitration for employment, consumer, antitrust and civil rights disputes.
Today marks the beginning of the end of forced arbitration provisions in consumer, employment and other contracts.
These provisions amount to a get-out-of-jail-free card for corporations that rip off, defraud, injure, cheat, racially and sexually discriminate against, create and tolerate hostile work environments for, and violate the privacy of their consumers, workers, students, nursing home residents and others.
There are 100 years of statutory protections in place designed to restrain corporate wrongdoing. Collectively, they constitute a social contract about the ways in which corporations must conduct themselves. Thanks to a series of misguided U.S. Supreme Court decisions, forced arbitration provisions enable corporations to mock that social contract with impunity.
With the FAIR Act set to pass the House in the coming weeks and with momentum building for its inevitable passage into law, the days when corporations can carry out this public taunting of the American people are coming to an end.
Public Citizen thanks U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), the lead sponsor of the FAIR Act, U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-R.I.), a strong supporter of the bill, and the countless people who, after being cheated out of their day in court, channeled their energy into getting their representatives to support this vital bill.