What is Forced Arbitration?

Social media and the news got a kick out of an activist dressed as the Monopoly guy photobombing the Equifax Senate hearings. However, the individual later said they did this to get people to tune in and pay attention to the dangers of forced arbitration clauses.

Equifax is under questioning by the Senate about the circumstances and impact of a recent data breach that affected 145 million consumers and counting. Once Equifax became aware of the data breach, they offered possible victims free credit monitoring. However, those who accepted this service didn’t necessarily realize that by doing so, they were agreeing to a forced arbitration clause—basically, losing their right to sue Equifax over the data breach and any later damages from identity theft. Although Equifax has since nullified this clause for TrustedID subscribers, similar language in the fine print of employment agreements has taken center stage in the U.S. Supreme Court as well.

We’ve written before about the same danger of forced arbitration clauses in nursing home contracts. Forced arbitration clauses hidden in the fine print of lengthy contracts are one more attack on the rights of common American citizens to have their days in court. We hope that public policy and legal precedents can be established to give power back to victims in their times of hardship, rather than allowing those who have done the damage to stay in control.