Can you lose your right to a jury trial by eating food? General Mills, one of the world’s largest food companies, thinks so. It adopted policies that customers who buy its products, join its online communities like Facebook, or download coupons give up their constitutional rights to a jury trial. Instead, its policy requires arbitration of legal disputes.
General Mills’ policy looks destined to be tested by the courts. If it stands, it will have a major impact on employment and justice in the United States. Could an employer have a policy that if you use their restrooms or enjoy their air-conditioned air you waive a host of rights? It does not seem much different than eating food.
Jury trials ensure that people are treated fairly and lawfully. The arbitration may not be in the best interests of employees and the common people. These policies can be used to limit people’s recoveries by putting limits on damages and the ability to investigate the facts of their case. Most people are not aware that arbitrators charge thousands of dollars per day.
In California, arbitration contracts can be challenged as unconscionable. But the United States Supreme Court’s decisions have strongly favored business’ positions on arbitration. For example, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion bars class actions in arbitrations. For all of you iPhone users, that means if you have a legal dispute with AT&T, you are going it alone — not with the help of others with the same problem. Could General Mills’ policy be too much even for the arbitration-friendly Supreme Court?
Only time will tell. Therefore, next time you are on Facebook, watch what you “like.”
Your job is more than just a source of income. It is a major part of your lifestyle. If you have been the victim of wrongful termination, wrongful demotion or any kind of discriminatory business practices, it is time to take action and contact a Ventura employment law attorney that can help. Attorney Matthew A. Kaufman and the team at The Kaufman Law Firm bring experience and a vast arsenal of legal resources to help clients recover the money they deserve.
To learn more, contact our Westlake Village or Los Angeles law office today and schedule a free initial consultation to discuss your case.