On February 28, 2019, U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Ct) introduced the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (the “FAIR act). The goal of this bill is to increase Americans’ right to seek justice and accountability through the court system.
If passed, the bill would amend the Federal Arbitration Act to prohibit mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements that force arbitration of future employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights disputes. The bill would also prohibit agreements that interfere with the rights of individuals, workers, and small businesses to participate in joint, class or collective action related to an employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil right dispute.
Rep. Johnson stated, “[f]orced arbitration agreements undermine our indelible Constitutional right to trial by jury, benefiting powerful businesses at the expense of American consumers and workers.” Forced arbitration requires employees or consumers to resolve disputes behind closed doors with binding arbitration. In arbitration, an arbitrator decides the dispute between the parties, which is binding and usually confidential. Arbitration awards tend to be lower than those reached in Court.