Since its inception in 1985, NELA has been a leader in opposing forced arbitration of employment claims and it is one of our top legislative priorities. Forced arbitration denies individuals access to our country’s civil justice system when employers violate our nation’s employment and civil rights laws.
Forced arbitration of workplace claims is anathema to our public justice system because it occurs in secret, private tribunals in the absence of accompanying legal safeguards, such as a written record of the arbitration proceedings, the right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision if the law is not applied correctly, or other guarantees that ensure a fair process that exist in a court of law. The practice is widespread, affecting every segment of the workforce from minimum wage workers to our nation’s servicemembers to highly compensated professionals who are compelled to give up their right to go to court when they believe they have been illegally treated in the workplace in order to get or keep a job.
Arbitration is an appropriate way to resolve disputes when it is knowingly and voluntarily agreed to by the parties after a dispute arises. This includes the protection of workers’ substantive legal rights, such as their right to join together using voluntary arbitration or the courts to challenge discriminatory employment practices, violations of wage and hour laws, or other unlawful actions by the employer.
Join NELA In Ending Forced Arbitration Of Workplace Disputes
As a leader of the Fair Arbitration Now Coalition, NELA is educating the public and policymakers on the need to ban forced arbitration. In fighting against forced arbitration, NELA and our members:
- Lobby Congress for legislation that would prevent employers from forcing workers to give up their right to go to court—and accompanying legal protections—when they have workplace claims;
- File amicus briefs in significant cases challenging forced arbitration; and
- Serve as a resource for press exposés of forced arbitration practices.
- Join NELA’s Legislative Action Team! To leverage our voices, we have created NELA’s Legislative Action Team (LAT) to take action to protect and advance workers’ rights. The LAT engages NELA members and Affiliate members—as community leaders and constituents—in lobbying Congress and influencing public opinion on proposed legislation and public policy that are important to you, your clients, and workers across the country. You can sign up at nela.org/lat.
To get involved in NELA’s efforts to oppose forced arbitration, contact NELA Legislative & Public Policy Director Laura M. Flegel at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On December 7, NELA joined Public Justice and six other civil rights organizations in filing an amicus brief in support of workers seeking to remove claims from arbitration under the 2021 Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (the Act). The brief stems from a suit filed by former employees of Everyrealm, alleging sexual harassment, disability discrimination, racial discrimination, and pay inequity. Defendants argued that only the sexual harassment claims were exempt from arbitration. The brief examines the plain language of the statute, arguing that “(I)n sum, the text and legislative history of the Act could not […]
On September 7, 2022, NELA joined NELP in filing an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit case Bille, et al v. Coverall North America, Inc. This brief addresses the serious harms of forcing arbitration on low-wage workers and urges the 2nd Circuit to ensure that workers can return to court in the event that unscrupulous employers attempt to exploit the arbitration system. In this case, employer Coverall attempted to bypass earlier commitments to cover the costs of arbitration and when the arbitration was closed because of default, contested the district court decision to lift the stay on litigation. As the […]
On March 9, 2022, NELA joined our Affiliate, California Employment Lawyers Association (CELA), and the National Employment Law Project (NELP) to file an amicus brief in support of the Respondent in Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Moriana. This case addresses the issue of whether the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires enforcement of a bilateral arbitration agreement providing that an employee cannot raise representative claims, including under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Our brief argues that PAGA is not an end-run around arbitration and because the FAA was never intended to preempt the states’ law enforcement functions or their […]
On March 1, 2022, NELA filed an amicus brief in support of the Respondent in Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon. This case addresses the very important issue of whether workers who load or unload goods from vehicles that travel in interstate commerce, but do not physically transport such goods themselves, are interstate “transportation workers” exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act. NELA filed in support of Latrice Saxon, a ramp worker for Southwest Airlines facing mandatory arbitration of her employment claims. The brief examined the text of the Federal Arbitration Act’s exemption for transportation workers and argues that Ms. Saxon’s job […]
A Victory for Workers—Bill Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Claims is Sent to President for Signing
Yesterday, the Senate passed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (S. 2342). The bill gives survivors the chance to have their case heard in a court of law, rather than being forced into arbitration, away from public view. NELA and its public education and advocacy organization, the National Institute for Workers’ Rights (formerly the Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy), have worked for over a decade to end forced arbitration in the workplace. In 2009, the Institute coined the term “forced arbitration” following the release of significant public opinion research. Recently, […]
The Ending Forced Arbitration Of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act of 2021 (H.R. 4445) passed with bipartisan support yesterday, 335–97. NELA has been working for two decades to end forced arbitration, the pernicious employer practice of barring workers from pursuing justice in open court. The “Me Too” movement exposed aspects of the terrible harm done by forced arbitration clauses, which shield employers from accountability for sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace, enabling this conduct to continue unabated. Yesterday’s House vote is a victory in the fight to end forced arbitration. We applaud the House on this bipartisan […]
Submitted Testimony of Laura M. Flegel, National Employment Lawyers Association and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy Legislative & Public Policy Director to the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Commercial, and Administrative Law Committee on the Judiciary United States House of Representatives on Justice Restored: Ending Forced Arbitration and Protecting Fundamental Rights Introduction Founded in 1985, the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) is the largest bar association in the country focused solely on empowering workers’ rights attorneys. NELA and its 69 circuit, state, and local affiliates have a combined membership of over 4,000 attorneys who are committed to protecting […]
The National Employment Lawyers Association And The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy Applaud Hearing On House Bill To Restore Access To America’s Civil Justice System
(Washington, DC) – The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (The Institute) applaud Representative Hank Johnson (D-GA) for introducing the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act (FAIR Act), which will end the insidious corporate practice of forcing workers and consumers to give up their rights by mandating them to address disputes in secret, one-sided arbitration proceedings. The FAIR Act will open the courthouse doors and restore workers’ access to America’s civil justice system. Among other things, the FAIR Act will make it unlawful for employers to impose arbitration on workers, unless the […]
BY ELECTRONIC MAIL Mr. Christopher Poole Chief Executive Officer, JAMS 5 Park Plaza Suite 400 Irvine, CA 92614 Re: Accountability for Racism at JAMS Dear Mr. Poole: The National Employment Lawyers Association (“NELA”) and its related charitable organization, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy (“The Institute”) write to express deep concern about the racist views that were circulated by and then defended as a piece worthy of discussion by former Judge Richard Neville, who was until recently a JAMS neutral. NELA and our 69 circuit, state, and local Affiliates, comprising over 4,000 members across the country, are […]
For Immediate Release Contact: Andrea Hansen 509.306.1867 email@example.com Arbitrator’s dissemination of racist content exposes the threat of concealed prejudice among “neutrals” Washington, D.C. – September 8, 2020 – The National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA), the nation’s largest legal association whose members exclusively or primarily represent workers, and its related charitable arm The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy, are urging JAMS, a private dispute resolution provider, to conduct a full assessment of all discrimination cases overseen by Judge Richard Neville. Neville recently distributed via email to 39 recipients a racist essay contending the inferiority of Black Americans. He […]
Ending Forced Arbitration Resources
- The Widespread Use of Workplace Arbitration Among America’s Top 100 Companies
- Taking “Forced” Out Of Arbitration: How Forced Arbitration Harms America’s Workers, The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy
- The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy Study On Forced Arbitration
- Fair Arbitration Now Coalition
- Alliance for Justice Report