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Are You Opting Out of the Constitution?

The last time you saw a new doctor, or opened a new bank or credit card account, or most anything else, you were required to sign an agreement that requires, REQUIRES, you to agree to mandatory arbitration if a disagreement arises, such as a medical mistake, or you can't see the doctor or open the account.

Now it's also the case that many organizations require you to sign a similar agreement to get a new job. They are clear in the warning: You are giving up your Constitutional Right to a trial by jury by signing this agreement.

And you have no choice.

"Mandatory" means not only that you must have the dispute resolved by an arbitrator, but that you must accept this arbitrator's decision and cannot appeal it to anyone, not even a court.

When I see a clause like this I write "Mediation First!" and then sign it as required. No one notices and it won't help in a dispute, but I can try. A friend writes a note explaining that she does not agree with this provision but is signing it under protest because she prefers mediation and needs to see the doctor. No one will pay attention to the note either.

Mandatory arbitration covers all workplace disputes, including hostile workplace complaints or complaints of bias. Combined with increasingly restrictive non-compete clauses, we are approaching a point where people can't work for another company in the same field or industry where their expertise would be most useful and offer the best chance of advancement, and if they are hired and are deemed to have broken the rule they have no way of appealing -- to anyone -- unless the arbitrator sides with them and they win the case. The company often chooses the arbitrator.

What happened to the employee's right to seek employment and advance in his or her profession?

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