The introduction of the bipartisan “Justice for Servicemembers Act” would clarify that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) guarantees members of the military the right to enforce their USERRA rights in court. That would be true even when their employer has buried a forced arbitration clause in its employment agreement. This bill was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, and in the U.S. House of Representatives by Rep. David Cicilline. These Senators should be commended for taking on this needed battle. My friend, Larry Tawwater, the current president of the American Association for Justice, had this to say:
The brave men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces selflessly fight to protect our rights. It is despicable that corporations would attempt to deny them their rights through the abusive use of forced arbitration. The ‘Justice for Servicemembers Act’ will clarify a critical provision in USERRA that will stop this shameful practice and guarantee that members of our military can fully and fairly enforce their rights in court.
Congress overwhelmingly passed USERRA in 1994 to prohibit corporations from discriminating against their employees on the basis of military service, including a celebrated ban on firing reservists who are called to active duty. However, by burying a forced arbitration clause in the fine print of employment agreements, corporations have been able to evade USERRA protections and discriminate against service members. Regardless of the circumstances, the employers aren’t being held accountable in court. Instead, service members attempting to assert their USERRA rights are kicked out of court and funneled into a rigged, secretive arbitration proceeding decided by an arbitrator chosen by the employer. That’s a certain way to deny justice to a person with a valid legal claim and it’s wrong.
The “Justice for Servicemembers Act” would allow service members to pursue any employment discrimination cases that arise under USERRA in federal court instead of employer-forced arbitration, while preserving the option to enter into an arbitration agreement after a dispute arises. That would be where both sides to a dispute agree to arbitration. The American Association for Justice and its Executive Director Linda Lipscon have worked very hard on this project.
Source: AAJ News Release
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.