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Posted: 12:00 a.m. Friday, June 25, 2010

Mandatory arbitration gets a boost from the Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has ruled in a 5-4 decision in favor of mandatory arbitration. For those who may be unfamiliar, mandatory arbitration is the procedure many companies and employers have in place by which disputes are resolved in a kangaroo court of the company or employer's choosing.

For example, as part of your credit card agreement, the banks that control most of the credit cards in the United States require any disputes to be settled in a forum where they pick the arbitrator and set the rules. According to one report, this type of forum finds in favor of the banks 99.9996% of the time.

There's no way that could be a fair and impartial process. The real solution is not with the Supreme Court, however. The real power should reside in Congress getting on the ball and passing a law banning mandatory arbitration.

There's a reason why we have separation of powers with three branches of government. Everyone has their right to redress in the court. How can a business picking an arbiter who is on their payroll to rule on consumer complaints be fair?

Throughout our nation's history, brave men and women have fought for our freedom. For corporate America and employers to spit on their graves by not allowing you your day in court is an outrage.

If arbitration is mutually agreed upon, that's fine. In many circumstances a consumer would be better served this way. But to write it in a contract when you do business with a company or work for them? The closed nature of mandatory arbitration is the very problem.