AAJ Statement on Introduction of "Restoring Statutory Rights Act"February 04,2016
Washington, DC — The following is a statement from American Association for Justice CEO Linda Lipsen on today’s introduction of the “Restoring Statutory Rights Act” in the in the United States Senate. The bill, introduced by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), would prohibit corporations from using forced arbitration when the applicable state and federal laws grant Americans the right to hold that corporation accountable in court. In addition to the “Restoring Statutory Rights Act,” Congress is also considering the “Arbitration Fairness Act of 2015” [S. 1133/H.R. 2087], introduced by Sen. Al Franken [D-MN] and Rep. Hank Johnson (D-GA), which would prohibit the use of forced arbitration in consumer and employment disputes.
“For far too long, corporations have used forced arbitration to evade laws that protect Americans from harassment and discrimination, including the Equal Pay Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. We applaud Sen. Leahy for addressing the devastating impact that forced arbitration has had on Americans’ ability to enforce fundamental statutory and civil rights guaranteed by law.
“Forced arbitration is a widespread, abusive practice orchestrated by the world’s most powerful corporations to ensure that Americans can never hold them accountable in court when they break laws designed to empower individuals. This bill should send a clear message to corporations that use forced arbitration to strip Americans of their fundamental rights: When Congress passes a law, they mean it.
“The pervasiveness of forced arbitration was facilitated, in part, by a series of recent Supreme Court decisions that left it up to Congress to revoke Corporate America’s license to discriminate. In addition to the “Restoring Statutory Rights Act,” we strongly support the passage of the “Arbitration Fairness Act,” which would ensure that corporations can no longer use the fine print to unjustly wipe out the rights of consumers and employees.”