Breaking News on Forced Arbitration Law

The House just passed the FAIR Act that would give millions of workers the right to sue their boss.

The House just passed a groundbreaking bill that would restore legal rights to millions of American workers and consumers.

Lawmakers voted 225-186 Friday to pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, a far-reaching bill that bans companies from requiring workers and consumers to resolve legal disputes in private arbitration — a quasi-legal forum with no judge, no jury, and practically no government oversight.

These clauses, which are common in employment and consumer contracts, have made it impossible for workers to sue their bosses in court for sexual harassment, racial discrimination, wage theft, and nearly anything else. Workers are less likely to win their cases in private arbitration, and when they do win, they tend to get much less money than they would in court.

Outlawing forced arbitration is no small thing. It would restore access to the courts to more than 60 million US workers who have signed away their right to sue.

“Arbitration is one of the central ways in which corporate America has rigged the system against middle class families, working people,” Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said Friday on the House floor.

The bill may face resistance from Republicans in the Senate, but pushing it through the House was a feat in its own right. Members of Congress have been trying for years to outlaw forced arbitration in various scenarios: for sexual harassment and discrimination claims and consumer complaints. None have ever gotten through the House, so passage of the FAIR Act is a major milestone.