Rep. Johnson Re-Introduces Legislation to End Forced Arbitration & Restore Accountability for Consumers, Workers
WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Thursday, February 11, Congressman Hank Johnson (GA-04), chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet, announced that he re-introduced the FAIR Act: The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act, re-establishing Americans’ 7th Amendment right to seek justice and accountability through the court system. Rep. Johnson made the announcement at a hearing on “Justice Restored: Ending Forced Arbitration and Protecting Fundamental Rights” in the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law (ACAL) of the House Judiciary Committee.
The bill previously passed the House of Representatives during the 116th Congress on Sept. 20, 2019 by a strong, bipartisan vote of 225 to 186. The FAIR Act – H.R. 963 – would eliminate forced arbitration clauses in employment, consumer, and civil rights cases, and would allow consumers and workers to agree to arbitration after a dispute occurs. The House bill has 155 cosponsors.
“Forced arbitration is an underhanded maneuver that corporations use to trick consumers, workers and small businesses out of their right to go to court and seek damages from a jury of their peers,” said Rep. Johnson. “You can't get a cell phone or credit card or even a job nowadays unless you sign away your rights because that's what every corporation requires. They force you into binding arbitration because it benefits them, and it’s at your expense. If this sounds unfair, it’s because it is. Big businesses that already have all the power in the relationship regularly stack the deck to avoid the only thing out there that could hold them accountable -- the United States justice system.”
Supporting organizations include: The American Association of Justice, Public Citizen, The Leadership Conference, NAACP, Consumer Reports, National Organization for Women, National Employment Law Project, Earthjustice, National Network to End Domestic Violence, among dozens of others.
BACKGROUND: Forced arbitration clauses restrict Americans’ access to justice by stripping consumers and workers of their right to go to court. Instead, consumers and workers are forced into an unfair arbitration system where corporations can write the rules; everything can be done in secret, without public rulings; discovery can be limited, making it hard for consumers to get the evidence they need to prove their case; and there’s no meaningful judicial review, so consumers and employees are often unable to appeal a decision even if the arbitrator gets it wrong.
SUPPORTING ORGANIZATIONS: A Better Balance, AKPIRG., Alliance for Justice, American Association for Justice, Americans for Financial Reform, Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA), Autistic Self Advocacy Network, Bayard Rustin Liberation Initiative, Better Markets, California Employment Lawyers Association, California Reinvestment Coalition, Center for Auto Safety, Center for Economic Integrity, Center for Justice & Democracy, Center for Popular Democracy, Center for Responsible Lending, Citizen Works, Committee to Support the Antitrust Laws, Consumer Action, 6 See, Meyer v. Kalanick, 200 F.Supp.3d 408 (S.D.N.Y. 2016), Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Reports, Consumers for Auto Reliability and Safety, Consumer Watchdog, D.C. Consumer Rights Coalition, Demos, Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council, Inc., Disability Rights Advocates, Disability Rights Legal Center, Disability Rights Texas, Earthjustice, Economic Policy Institute, Every Texan, Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration, Impact Fund, Justice for Migrant Women, KGACLC, Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, Legal Aid Justice Center, Long Term Care Community Coalition, Make the Road New York, Maryland Consumer Rights Coalition, NAACP, NACA-Ohio, National Association of Consumer Advocates, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA), National Association of the Deaf, National Center for Law and Economic Justice, National Consumer Law Center (on behalf of its low-income clients), National Consumers League, The National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care, The National Disabled Law Students Association, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), National Employment Law Project, National Employment Lawyers Association, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund, National Network to End Domestic Violence, National Organization for Women, National Women’s Health Network, National Women’s Law Center, New Economy Project, New Georgia Project, New Jersey Citizen Action, Northwest Workers’ Justice Project, Oregon Communications Access Project, People’s Parity Project, Public Citizen, Public Good Law Center, Public Justice, Public Justice Center, Public Law Center, Rights & Democracy -- NH & VT, S.C. Appleseed Legal Justice Center, Sikh Coalition, SPLC Action Fund, Strategic Organizing Center, Student Borrower Protection Center, Texas Watch, Towards Justice, Veterans Education Success, Virginia Organizing, VOICE-OKC, The Washington State Communication Access Project (www.Wash-CAP.com).