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Workplace Fairness: it's everyone's job
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Most workers believe that if their employers violate the law, their rights will be protected and preserved by the courts. Many now find, however, that the courthouse doors are closed to them as a result of mandatory arbitration and conservative judges who are not sympathetic to employee lawsuits.

Cartoon by Clay BennettWorkers believe the laws are there to protect them and that if their employers violate the law, their rights will be protected and preserved by the courts. Many are now finding, however, that the courthouse doors are closed to them.
In order to get or keep their jobs, an increasing number of employees are required to forfeit any access to the judicial system, as employers force employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses. While employers tout the low costs of arbitration, the reality is that the mandatory arbitration process is often stacked against the employee. Many of the benefits of the judicial system are denied in a process that can include excessive filing fees and arbitration costs, limits on the discovery necessary to build a case against the employer and the types of damages which may be awarded, and arbitrators relying on employers for repeat business who are not bound to follow the law or issue written opinions.
the facts:Even employees who reach the courthouse may not find any relief there. Although the Civil Rights Act of 1991 allowed employment cases to be heard by juries, most cases never see a jury. Judges nominated on the basis of their conservative political views and allegiance to business interests dismiss cases using a process called "summary judgment," which is supposed to be reserved for cases with legal deficiencies based on uncontested facts, but is increasingly used by judges weighing disputed facts that under our system of law are supposed to be resolved by juries. The costs of appealing are often so prohibitive, and the likelihood of success so low, that many cases with merit simply wither away.
The ability to join with other similarly affected workers in a class action case is also under attack, under the guise of "tort reform," which if successful will result in preventing many workers from challenging unfair and discriminatory policies too financially prohibitive to challenge on an individual basis. These developments require lawyers to accept only a very limited number of cases in order to stay in business, while many workers simply have no remedy to address their employer’s illegal actions.
Given these developments, the threat of legal action is no longer enough to discourage illegal activity by employers. In a system in which it has become so difficult for workers to stand up to employers, and those who do win mostly hollow victories, workers can no longer count on the courts to protect them.
Short-Changed: America's workers are giving more and getting less

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