New Bill Would Prohibit Most Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreements

March 01, 2019

A group of Democratic lawmakers introduced the FAIR Act (HR 1423), which would prohibit pre-dispute arbitration agreements for future employment, consumer, antitrust, or civil rights disputes, and prohibit agreements that interfere with the right to participate in a joint, class, or collective action related to such disputes.

The Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal Act already has 147 House cosponsors, and the companion bill in the Senate has 34 cosponsors.

Collectively bargained agreements allowed with a catch:  Nothing in the bill would apply to any arbitration provision in a contract between an employer and a union, except provisions that waiving the right of workers to seek judicial enforcement of any federal or state law would be unenforceable.

Google workers support the bill.  “We know we’re in a position of privilege and we want to make sure everyone has the same rights,” said Tanuja Gupta, a Google engineer.  Last week, Google announced it would stop using pre-dispute arbitration agreements, largely in response to social media pressure.

Outlook:  It is unclear whether the House bill will garner enough support to pass the chamber and its outlook is even more uncertain in the GOP-controlled Senate.