Employment and Consumer Arbitration: NPR Article

Yesterday, NPR had an interesting article about the controversial issue of mandatory arbitration of claims between businesses and individuals (employees and consumers). First, the article discusses the unfortunate story of a young woman who was allegedly raped by several men while working in Iraq for Halliburton. At issue in her case ( Jones v. Halliburton ) is a motion to compel arbitration of her tort claims filed by Halliburton. The case remains under appeal in the Fifth Circuit (we blogged about it here).

The article also mentions comments made by Elizabeth Bartholet, Harvard law professor and former arbitrator at the National Arbitration Forum (NAF), one of the country’s largest arbitration firms. Bartholet claims that she was removed from her job at NAF because she ruled against a credit card company in one case. On a related note, former NAF manager Deanna Richert filed a discrimination lawsuit against NAF recently. In the suit, she alleges that NAF regularly favored business clients. See Wall Street Journal article : Did the National Arbitration Forum Pander To ‘Famous Parties’? and read the National Arbitration Forum’s Answer.

Finally, the article mentions the “Arbitration Fairness Act of 2009″ which is federal legislation currently pending in Congress that would ban mandatory arbitration of employment, consumer, and franchisee claims. Link to the Senate Version: S. 931 and link to Status. Link to the House Version: H.R. 1020 and link to Status. Here is the full NPR article: Rape Case Highlights Arbitration Debate, Wade Goodwyn, June 9, 2009.

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