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Study: Loyola University New Orleans Law Professor Releases Report on Use of Arbitration Clauses for Workplace-Related Disputes Among Fortune 100 Companies

Loyola press release - September 27, 2017

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for opening day and the D. H. Horton cases, the report illustrates what is at stake for the economy and American workers

As the U.S. Supreme Court prepares for opening day and the D. H. Horton cases, a new report released today by a Loyola University New Orleans College of Law professor and the Employee Rights Advocacy Institute for Policy and Law explores the use of arbitration clauses for workplace-related disputes. The timely and significant report provides context for the cases the Supreme Court will hear next week, on its very first day, involving employment arbitration — and helps to show what is at stake for the economy and American workers.

Titled the Widespread Use of Workplace Arbitration Among America’s Top 100 Companies, the report by Imre S. Szalai, Judge John D. Wessel Distinguished Professor of Social Justice at Loyola law school, examines the use of arbitration agreements in the workplace by the top 100 largest domestic United States companies, as ranked by Fortune magazine.

From the report:

“The ability to access courts is disappearing for workers in America because arbitration clauses have permeated the majority of the leading companies in America. Personal injury claims, wage claims, civil rights claims, sexual assault claims, and other claims involving the workplace and vulnerable workers may never be heard in a public court, with broad procedural protections for employees, because of the use of arbitration clauses. Further, through the use of class waivers, it is impossible for employees to join together in a class or collective action against their more powerful and far better-resourced employers.

“This report examines the use of arbitration agreements in the workplace by the top 100 largest domestic United States companies, as ranked by Fortune magazine. These companies are the most successful, powerful companies in America, with combined annual revenues totaling over 7.6 trillion dollars according to Fortune magazine.”

The key findings of this study are as follows:

  • 80 of the top 100 largest companies in America, including subsidiaries or related affiliates, have used arbitration agreements in connection with workplace-related disputes since 2010.
  • Of the 80 companies with arbitration agreements in the workplace, 39 (or nearly half) use arbitration clauses containing class waivers.

“Much is at stake in the D.R. Horton cases for American workers,” Szalai said. “The Supreme Court will decide whether employees can be forced to arbitrate individually, or whether they have a protected right to proceed collectively as a group or class. Also, more generally, if an employee is stuck in a private arbitration system, a worker loses many procedural protections, making it difficult to prove their case. But most consumers or employees are not aware they are stuck in this private system; it flies under the radar.”

Click here to see the report, which has been spotlighted today by both Money magazine and Time magazine.

Contact Loyola University New Orleans Department of Public Affairs at (504) 861-5448 or (504) 352-8775 for an interview with Imre S. Szalai, Judge John D. Wessel Distinguished Professor of Social Justice in Loyola’s College of Law, or contact Professor Szalai directly at (504) 861-5889.