Governor Inslee Issues Executive Order Supporting Workers’ Rights
Mandatory individual arbitration is a strategy used by employers to not only settle claims quickly and quietly, but to also keep employees from coming together to form class actions. By forcing employees to stay quiet, this approach can be used to keep issues of workplace violations like failure to pay overtime and rest breaks silent to the main stream media.
In a ruling last month by the U.S. Supreme Court, employers that force their employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment are now able to limit workers’ rights to seek damages through class action or collective arbitration. The decision makes it more difficult for people to hold their employers accountable for workplace violations.
In response, Washington Governor Jay Inslee issued an executive order that establishes a new state procedure that allows government agencies to consider whether a company looking to contract with the state requires their employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment when deciding to do business.
In a statement, Governor Inslee said, “In our state, we value companies that respect workers’ rights. There is power in numbers. There is power in transparency. And there is power in our pocketbook to influence companies to do the right thing. We can’t change the Supreme Court’s ruling but we can change how we do business.”