Too many downsides to mandatory workplace arbitration, argue AGs

Any number of business principals in Connecticut and nationally can tick off multiple plusses linked with mandatory arbitration being used to resolve workplace disputes.

They might as well just forgo the effort, though, if they’re trying to cite those virtues to an attorney general of an American state.

Actually, any American state, as evidenced by a recent letter condemning forced private arbitration that was unanimously endorsed by every attorney general across the country.

Notably, it is a big deal when all 50 American AGs link up in strongly bipartisan fashion to stress a point and demand legal change via a communication sent directly to the U.S. Congress.

The letter that national legislators are undoubtedly scrutinizing right now demands an immediate stop to mandatory arbitration being the sole venue to resolve a dispute alleging workplace sexual harassment. Its authors condemn the practice for many alleged deficiencies, including these:

  • Arbitration’s aura of secrecy, which keeps unlawful conduct under wraps
  • Isolation of victims who cannot communicate with other claimants to confirm wrongdoing and its scope
  • Arbitration’s precluding of class action suits that could more efficiently and effectively spotlight a common matter of interest

Mandatory arbitration is a condition of employment for scores of millions of American workers, and the AGs insist that it needs to disappear from America’s employment scene. Until it does, insist the attorneys general, the scourge of on-the-job sexual harassment cannot be meaningfully addressed.

Notably, the AGs’ letter addresses arbitration only in claims alleging sexual harassment. It does not seek an end to the process in matters involving worksite discrimination, wage disputes or other employment-linked matters.