Found in the fine print of many cellphone, computer, car, and job contracts are terms and conditions including the waiver of a right to file a lawsuit in place of arbitration. Most of the time this provision is never invoked but a growing number of job seekers and consumers are realizing that if something does go wrong they may have unknowingly waived their right to file a lawsuit.
In some cases, lawyers are unwilling to represent consumers in arbitration complaints because of award caps in agreements. And in some other cases arbitration is unhelpful because arbitration decisions are typically not disclosed and not subject to appeal.
Arbitration can be particularly helpful when freely and knowingly agreed to regarding disputes between commercial entities. The issue arises when individual consumers unknowingly waive their right to file a lawsuit in the fine print of many adhesions contracts. Congress recently announced The Arbitration Fairness Act, which would help consumers understand their rights and advantages of arbitration.