On March 17, 2022 the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act of 2022 (“FAIR Act”) passed the U.S. House of Representatives and has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary. This bill makes pre-dispute arbitration clauses unenforceable in certain cases, including employment cases. A similar bill that makes pre-dispute arbitration clauses unenforceable in sexual harassment or assault cases was recently signed into law earlier this year.
Currently, employers are allowed to use contract provisions known as “arbitration agreements” to force employees to bring their claims in front of an arbitrator, rather than going to court. Arbitration is a way of resolving a dispute outside of the courts, where a private arbitrator is hired by the company to review the evidence, listen to the parties, and make a decision. There is no right to a jury, and the decision cannot be appealed. These mandatory arbitration agreements are often required as part of the on-boarding process and are signed by unsuspecting employees before they ever know they have a legal claim against their employer. These agreements are drafted by employers in order to favor employers and prevent employees from having their day in court.
If the FAIR Act passes the Senate and is signed into law, employees will no longer be forced to arbitrate their employment law claims. Rather, employees will have the choice of whether to arbitrate or have their day in court.
If you have questions about how the FAIR Act could impact your employment law claims, contact us. Our experienced employment law attorneys would be happy to discuss your case and help you understand your legal rights and options in light of this potential new law.