In a recent Google Hangout interview, Eric Grover, one of the partners at the San Francisco labor, employment and consumer protection law firm Keller Grover, discussed mandatory arbitration agreements. Eric, a seasoned California wage and hour, employment, and consumer protection attorney explained how recent court decisions regarding mandatory arbitration clauses in contracts have impacted consumers and how they spilled over into employment law. By understanding the law California workers have a better chance of protecting their rights.
Attorney Eric Grover explained that mandatory arbitration is when an employer or business puts a clause in a contract that says any arising legal dispute must be handled through arbitration. This hinders one’s rights to pursue claims or settle business matters in courts or in front of a jury.
Supreme Court decisions like the one made in 2011, in the case of AT&T versus Concepcion, changed the way employees and consumers can address disputes with large companies. The attorney notes that although mandatory arbitration has been around a long time, in many states courts have provided protections prior to the decision where the high court upheld a major arbitration provision in the case.
With regard to hope for the future, in examples such as the recent move by General Mills to drop forced arbitration due to the outcry from consumers, Attorney Eric Grover notes that the case provides a good example of what happens when consumers recognize that a company has taken things too far. “The groundswell of public outcry led the company to back down in just a few days.”
Recently, President Barack Obama signed an executive order that limits use of mandatory arbitration agreements in government contracts, something else the attorney says provides added protections for consumers and employees.
Workers and consumers can protect themselves by being aware of the type of agreement they are signing and if there is an ability to opt out of forced arbitration to do so. If an agreement seems unfair, complain. Employees can also opt out of such agreements, which is typically an important step towards protecting themselves if they have a dispute in the future.
For those who find themselves party to a mandatory arbitration agreement, the attorney says firms like Keller Grover can review clauses carefully and determine whether an arbitration agreement is one that a court may reject the use of.
About Attorney Eric Grover
California wage and hour lawyer Eric A. Grover has practiced employment law for 25 years. His firm Keller Grover LLP which has office locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles, helps workers who have questions about their legal rights and options in a range of employment matters, including mandatory arbitration agreements.
To follow Eric Grover please visit him using following links:
Eric Grover’s blog on California Labor & Wage Laws ]