We previously blogged about the Oakland Raiderettes, the famous football team's cheerleaders, attempting to file a class-action lawsuit against the team for a slew of claims. You can read that blog here.
Well now, the Raiders have something to say about it. The Raiders' attorneys are now pointing to the initial employment contract the Raiderettes sign as a contingency of their employment. In the contract, the cheerleaders agree to a “binding arbitration” clause. This means, employees who sign this contract cannot pursue a lawsuit in a court of law, but rather, must settle the dispute out of court, for example, in mediation. Typically though, the arbiter, who is meant to be an unbiased party, is hired and paid for by the defending party. In this case, it would paid for by the Raiders. Sounds fair right?
Attorneys for the ladies are confident that they can poke holes in the arbitration agreement, however, since the employment contract is “full of illegal provisions.” The Raiders, on the other hand, are looking for the complaint to be set aside so that Lacy T. and Sarah G. have to present their case in front of the NFL Commissioner. The employee contract additionally states that the cheerleaders cannot be part of a class-action lawsuit. Lacy and Sarah's attorneys argue that “whether the Raiders have broken the laws of California should be decided by a judge and jury, not a secret kangaroo court set up by the NFL.”
This lawsuit now presents a question of the validity and rightness of forced arbitration agreements. Arbitration agreements are often seen as favoring the employers because employees relinquish their job rights protected under law.
Source: Los Angeles Times