November 04, 2021

Kalpana Kotagala Partner in Cohen Milstein’s Civil Rights & Employment Practice, will testify before the House of Representatives’ Committee on Education and Labor, Subcommittee on Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions on November 4, 2021 at 10:15 a.m. EST

The title of the session is “Closing the Courthouse Doors: The Injustice of Forced Arbitration Agreements.”

Ms. Kotagal’s testimony focuses on how forced arbitration in the employment setting poses such a threat to workers’ ability to vindicate their rights and to our system of common law that Congressional action is required. She addresses several common myths related to the benefits of forced arbitration. She discusses the often impartial nature of forced arbitration and the power differential in such proceedings, which more often than not, favor the corporation vs. the individual worker brining the claim. She also discusses the limited ability of forced arbitration to address more systemic workplace issues that are experienced by many with the same claim. Such issues, she argues, can be more effectively and efficiently addressed through joint action arbitration or class and collective action litigation. Finally, she addresses how forced arbitration, given its limited discovery, secrecy and lack of precedential decision-making, in effect undermines and atrophies the integrity and purpose of our common law system, which is built on the dynamic nature of precedential case law.

Ms. Kotagal’s testimony can be seen here. (41:05)

A PDF of Ms. Kotagal’s testimony can be accessed here.