Retail Chain Guitar Center Orders Employees to Sign Mandatory Arbitration Agreement
Friday, January, 22, 2016
Employees of Guitar Center have been ordered by their employer to sign a mandatory arbitration agreement or lose their jobs. The agreement forces employees to give up their rights to sue the company in class action lawsuits if they believe there has been discrimination, or in the case of wage violations and unjustified terminations, and other types of disputes.
An employee at the company’s Las Vegas store speaking to a national news outlet stated that he and his co-workers were ordered to sign the agreement within a specified period of time or they would be terminated from their job. They were given no choice in the matter, other than agreeing to accept the termination if they did not sign.
This is not the first arbitration agreement between employees and employers to receive public attention. Many companies are being accused of issuing arbitration agreements in an effort to weaken the legal power of employees. Some companies are also extending these limits to consumers. Many believe that by forcing employees and consumers to take legal action on an individual basis and keep it out of the courtroom, they are preventing the ability to fight back fairly against wrongdoing.
Guitar Center’s demands come after an extended battle with the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
Employees say they learned of the arbitration requirement during a training meeting that included a video explaining why arbitration is good for everyone involved in a dispute with the company. Employees report most of their training sessions involve instruments and retail training, so they knew something was amiss when this particular session seemed so different.