House Dems introduce bill to protect consumers' right to sue

Democrats introduced the House version of a Senate bill on Tuesday to keep companies from forcing comsumers to settle certain disputes out of court.

Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.) and Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) introduced the “Restoring Statutory Rights Act of 2016” on Equal Pay Day.

The bill, first introduced in the Senate by Sen. Patrick LeahyPatrick Joseph LeahyTrump set to have close ally Graham in powerful chairmanship Senators introduce Trump-backed criminal justice bill Dem senators want hearing on funding for detained migrant children MORE (D-Vt.) prohibits corporations from using forced arbitration when state and federal laws give Americans the right to hold that corporation accountable in court.

“As we continue the fight for equal pay, equal promotion, and equal rights in the workplace, we need to ensure that we do not lose our footing on the critical milestones we have achieved through the enforcement of civil rights in our justice system,” Johnson said in a statement. “Forced arbitration has created a rigged system that blocks women from enforcing their legal rights against unaccountable and unlawful corporations for wage violations in the workplace.”

Arbitrations forcing consumers in fine print to settle disputes privately with an arbitrator that’s often chosen by the company an they typically prohibit consumers from joining class action lawsuits

 Advocates for equal pay say corporation used forced arbitrations to evade laws that promote equality and prohibit discrimination like the Equal Pay Act, the Family Medical Leave Act, and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, prohibits employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin and religion.

“It is shocking that, in 2016, equal pay does not yet exist but forced arbitration is thriving,” Linda Lipsen, CEO of the American Association for Justice, said in a statement. “Congress and the states have passed numerous laws designed to empower individuals to enforce fundamental rights in court, but for too long, forced arbitration has allowed corporations to evade these laws by funneling individuals into a rigged, secretive arbitration forum.”