A private brand of civil justice, one without laws or juries or
constitutional rights, has swept quietly across the nation's commercial
landscape, shielding corporations from costly verdicts, compromising judges
and stripping the public of its right to a day in court.
Tens of millions of Americans can no longer get medical treatment, a job, a
home, a credit card or a host of goods and services without agreeing to
resolve future disputes in confidential, unregulated proceedings riddled with
conflicts of interest.
They cannot claim injury, fraud or discrimination without paying filing
fees that may reach thousands of dollars. They cannot rely on legal guarantees
of due process and fair treatment. They cannot appeal, except in rare
And most of them don't even know it.
They have been forced into binding arbitration, a quasi-legal process that
allows private individuals to pass final judgment on the disputes of the
parties who hire them.
What you're talking about here is a classic struggle between the basic rights of workers and the desire of corporations to have absolute control of the workplace.
Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio
Voluntary arbitration has a long history in corporate commerce, organized
labor and professional sports, where it has earned praise for efficiently
resolving conflicts between adversaries of equal strength.
But over the past two decades, corporate America has imposed mandatory
arbitration on the public as a condition of doing business - with the blessing
of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Legal experts, including advocates of voluntary arbitration and several
members of the court itself, have accused the justices of ignoring the intent
of Congress and distorting the Federal Arbitration Act so that business
interests can avoid the costs and risks of lawsuits and judges can lighten
"The Supreme Court rewrote that statute as a service to corporations that
don't like jury trials," says Professor Paul Carrington of Duke University
School of Law.
The result, critics say, is a second-class justice system in which obscure
clauses buried deep in bank statements, phone bills and job applications
deprive millions of people of their legal rights:
- Lost rights: In mandatory arbitration, high fees can discourage
individuals from pursuing cases. The system lacks the procedural safeguards of
court, and limited awards can make hiring a lawyer difficult. Arbitrators
don't have to be lawyers and may not follow the law or justify their rulings.
Their decisions are confidential and final.
- Conflicts of interest: Some arbitration firms have invested in the
companies whose disputes the firms' arbitrators hear, creating the appearance
of conflicts that would never be tolerated in court. Studies show that
arbitrators may favor large corporations and other frequent clients.
- Compromised judges: Soaring demand and potentially high pay have lured an
increasing number of sitting judges into arbitration - particularly in
California - and pressured some to act in ways that may impress arbitration
firms but weaken public confidence in the courts.
"Mandatory arbitration allows corporations to undermine the whole system by
which we hold them accountable," says Montana Supreme Court Justice Terry
Trieweiler. "Every day it becomes more pervasive, and more oppressive."
Taking a case through mandatory arbitration can be financially and
While a vice president at NationsBank Capital Markets, Renee Cecala says
male bosses grabbed, cursed and pawed her. A stripper dressed as a pizza
delivery boy disrobed as she stood on the trading floor. For Halloween, she
received a small coffin containing a nude figure with a penis as long as its
In 1998, under securities-industry rules, her complaint was assigned to a
panel of three arbitrators.
The panel's chairman was a retired music teacher. The second arbitrator had
run a small stock-brokerage firm in Indiana and, Cecala says, "was immensely
hard of hearing." The third, a small-town lawyer and diabetic, often slept
during the proceedings as his insulin pump whistled in the background.
"I remember walking into the room, seeing these three and thinking, "Oh, my
God,' " says Cecala.
Transcripts show the panel losing control of the attorneys, misstating the
law and making bizarre rulings. The hearings lasted 18 days over more than two
years and cost Cecala almost $25,000 in arbitrator and hearing fees alone.
Then the panel ruled against her.
Cecala says she fell into deep depression, unable to sleep for days at a
"In terms of the massiveness of the mess, it's hard to top her case," says
Cecala's current attorney, Mitchell Aberman, who is asking a federal judge to
overturn the arbitrators' ruling.
In response to mounting criticism, several arbitration firms have adopted
fairness standards. But the protocols are sometimes ignored and, in any event,
cannot be enforced in court.
Reforms that would protect the public have been proposed in Congress and
state legislatures. On Sept. 26, Gov. Gray Davis signed a bill calling for
rules requiring arbitrators to disclose conflicts of interest. A bill now
before the U.S. House of Representatives would prohibit employers from
imposing arbitration on most workers.
But the prospects for further reform are uncertain. The California Chamber
of Commerce, the American Insurance Association and other business interests
from Silicon Valley to Wall Street have consistently fought to defeat proposed
"What you're talking about here," says Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, a
sponsor of the House bill, "is a classic struggle between the basic rights of
workers and the desire of corporations to have absolute control of the
On Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments in a case that
could extend the reach of mandatory arbitration even further. The court will
decide whether the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission can sue an
employer on behalf of Scotty Baker, a fired short-order cook who unwittingly
signed away his right to a jury trial.
The case may show how far the court is willing to go in limiting not only
the rights of individuals but the authority of the agencies created to protect
"Employers see a green light posted on the front steps of the Supreme Court, emboldening them to make arguments that 20 years ago would have been deemed
outrageous," says San Francisco attorney Michael Rubin, author of a brief
supporting the EEOC's position. "This time, I hope the Supreme Court tells
them that they have finally pushed too far."
FEDERAL ARBITRATION ACT
For years, the nation's courts refused to enforce arbitration agreements,
frustrating companies eager to conduct business without lawyers or courts.
Then, in 1923, Republican Rep. Ogden L. Mills of New York introduced a bill
that would make arbitration contracts enforceable in federal court.
Critics of arbitration worried the legislation would undercut the rights of
individuals. But the bill's authors and supporters said it would only apply to
"merchants" in contract disputes.
The Federal Arbitration Act became law in 1925, and for decades the
nation's courts honored the limits Congress intended to impose on the act.
But by the mid-1970s, the fear of an explosion in litigation gripped the
federal judiciary. Business interests warned of skyrocketing lawsuits.
Insurance company Crum & Forster ran a full page advertisement in Time
magazine, condemning lawyers for filing more than 1 million product liability
cases each year. Although the actual number never exceeded about 80,000, the
point had been made.
In 1983, without explanation, the Supreme Court declared that the Federal
Arbitration Act had created a "liberal federal policy favoring arbitration,"
meaning arbitration agreements should be upheld whenever possible.
The pronouncement marked a stark change in the high court's thinking, and
the new policy soon drew criticism from its own members, including Justice
Sandra Day O'Connor, who said the court "utterly fails to recognize the clear
congressional intent underlying the Federal Arbitration Act."
But the court repeatedly invoked the new policy as it expanded mandatory
arbitration throughout the nation's commercial life - even when civil rights
were at stake.
The court had long maintained that arbitrators "may be wholly unqualified"
to decide civil rights cases and similar legal matters, said Justice Hugo
But in 1991, the justices ruled 7 to 2 that Robert Gilmer, a 62-year-old
financial services manager replaced by his 28-year-old protege, must take his
age discrimination case to arbitration.
The ruling cleared the way for companies in every industry to prohibit
their employees from going to court with their grievances.
In its rulings, the Supreme Court has treated arbitration clauses as
ordinary contracts between consenting parties.
But for individuals, the clauses are much more. They are waivers of the
constitutional right to a jury trial. And in all contexts other than
arbitration clauses, federal courts have consistently ruled that such waivers
must be "knowing, voluntary and intentional," says Jean Sternlight, a law
professor at the University of Missouri.
Yet thousands of medical patients, credit cardholders, homeowners and
employees give up that right every day without even knowing they have done so.
Many mandatory arbitration clauses are tucked into shipping materials. Some
lurk in the dense pages of bills and bank statements. Often the clauses appear
in tiny type.
In 1992, the Bank of America started slipping mandatory arbitration clauses
into bills sent to its credit card and account holders. Customers who
continued to use their card or account, said the notices, would agree not to
But a group of cardholders sued the bank, arguing that the so-called "bill
stuffers" were unfair and deceptive. In 1998, the California Court of Appeal
in San Francisco ruled in their favor, becoming one of the few courts in the
nation to say that a business imposing arbitration on its customers "must
clearly and unambiguously show" that they have agreed to waive their
constitutional right to a jury trial.
For a while, the decision discouraged bill stuffing in the state. But in
July, Berkeley resident Darcy Ting and other phone customers received "Dear
AT&T Customer" letters. If they made one more long-distance call, the letters
said, they would have to resolve all disputes of more than $5,000 in
Ting was outraged. She led a class-action suit against AT&T in federal
court in San Francisco.
"Why should I lose my rights?" asked Ting. "It is really unfair."
Filing a case in California Superior Court typically costs from $90 to $185.
If the complaint involves discrimination, a state agency such as the
California Department of Fair Employment and Housing or the federal Equal
Employment Opportunity Commission might take the case for free. In certain
employment disputes, the state Labor Commission might take the case, also for
But mandatory arbitration can require thousands of dollars to file a case.
As a result, some people must pay fees they cannot afford or drop their legal
Lorraine Aho had to make that choice earlier this year in her wrongful
firing case against Maxager Technology in San Rafael.
The American Arbitration Association ordered her to pay a $3,000 filing fee, plus any fees the arbitrator might charge. Her attorney, Mary Dryovage, says
the fees could have topped $50,000.
"We told them to forget it," Dryovage says. "I wasn't going to let one of
my clients get into a situation of having to declare bankruptcy to pursue her
Some arbitration firms charge less. Several courts, including the
California Supreme Court, have ruled that employers must foot the bill in
employment discrimination cases.
But American Arbitration Association, the nation's largest arbitration firm
with more than 140,000 cases each year, charges up-front fees ranging from
$500 for claims under $10,000 to more than $7,000 for claims above $1 million
in commercial cases.
NO CLASS ACTIONS
Mandatory arbitration agreements often prohibit class actions, lawsuits
that combine many claims so awards are large enough to cover legal fees and
other costs. Class actions help people of modest means afford litigation and,
although subject to abuse, enforce consumer protection and civil rights laws.
The National Arbitration Forum has assured potential clients that its rules
will shield them from class actions and improve "the bottom line."
FleetBoston Financial Corp., Citigroup Inc. and MBNA Corp. recently barred
credit card customers from joining any class actions against the companies,
including suits already filed but not yet "certified" by courts.
Although many arbitrators are former judges, they are rarely required to
follow the law. Some arbitrators are not even lawyers.
In 1997, Carl Posey's defamation and wrongful firing case against
PaineWebber Inc. was assigned to a panel of three arbitrators in Nashville,
Tenn. Two of the arbitrators weren't lawyers. The third, the panel's chairman,
showed up wearing a white T-shirt and a khaki vest adorned with fishing lures.
"I remember asking the case administrator, "Where did you get these guys -
off a barstool?' " says Posey's attorney, Jeffrey Liddle.
After a full day of opening statements, the panel asked if the lawyers
could go through the statements again. It soon became clear that the
arbitrators would never grasp the case's nuances, says Liddle, so they agreed
A second panel was appointed. But when its chairman, a nonlawyer, leaped to
his feet to stop Posey from getting documents he was legally entitled to,
Liddle sensed more trouble. After a three-hour discussion, the second panel
Ultimately, the case was filed in federal court and settled.
"They just had a total misunderstanding of what we were about," says Posey,
who had to pay the arbitrators $10,000 for the aborted hearings.
PaineWebber, now UBS PaineWebber, declined to comment.
Although supporters of arbitration praise the system's swift resolution of
disputes, critics say speed and efficiency come at a price: the loss of rights
guaranteed in court.
In 1999, San Francisco investment banker Nicholas Prassas sued Smith Barney
Inc., claiming the bank fired him for not lying about campaign contributions
that could have disqualified the firm from doing a bond deal with the state of
Smith Barney forced Prassas into arbitration, preventing the allegations
from being aired in open court. During the case, his attorney says, the firm
turned over few documents and gave superficial answers to his written
questions. When the attorney tried to take deposition testimony from witnesses,
the arbitrators stopped him.
Left with scant information to make his case, Prassas settled without a
"It was awful," says Prassas. "There seemed to be no rationale behind the
Smith Barney, now Salomon Smith Barney, declined to comment.
In many cases, arbitration agreements limit the size of awards.
In July, for example, AT&T's customer notice said disputes with the company
would go to arbitration rather than to court and that the company would only
pay for faulty phone service or direct damages to property - not for indirect,
punitive or other damages normally allowed by law.
Award limits can make finding an attorney difficult. In December, the
California Research Bureau, the Legislature's research wing, reported that
almost a third of the medical patients who go to arbitration don't have
Cliff Palefsky, a San Francisco attorney who has led the legal opposition
to mandatory arbitration, says he has advised many women - particularly
securities industry professionals - not to pursue a discrimination case in
"The high costs, the amount they could win and the chances of winning all
militate against pursuing it, because of the damage it could do to their
careers," he says. "It breaks my heart to have to give someone with a good
case that kind of advice."
Three years ago, after Sherri Warner lost her discrimination and wrongful
firing suit in mandatory arbitration, a San Francisco arbitrator not only
charged her nearly $16,000 for his time, he ordered her to pay her opponent's
legal fees of more than $207,000.
The fee award would probably not have been allowed in court, and it forced
Warner into bankruptcy. But after her lawyer, Stephen Gorski, asked the
arbitrator to explain his decision, the arbitrator refused when reminded no
rules required him to do so.
Arbitrators rarely issue written opinions, making requests for review
The National Association of Securities Dealers generally limits arbitration
opinions to the names of the participants and their attorneys, the claims
asserted and the outcome. In some cases, major clients of arbitration firms
have prohibited arbitrators from even issuing opinions.
MCI Telecommunications Corp., for example, agreed in 1994 with Endispute,
which later merged with Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Service now JAMS,
that awards "shall not include any findings of fact or conclusions of law."
As a marketing company pointed out in its 1996 lawsuit against MCI, an
arbitrator's finding that MCI had engaged in "willful misconduct" would have
exposed the company to increased liability under federal regulations.
UNENFORCED ETHICS CODES
In recent years, mounting complaints about arbitration have prompted the
nation's largest arbitration firms to adopt fairness standards.
Starting in 1995, for example, American Arbitration Association agreed to
abide by "protocols" for running arbitrations in employment, consumer and
health care cases. In health care, the association said it would accept only
cases that people had voluntarily agreed to submit to arbitration after the
But the standards are not enforceable, and the association seems to ignore
In 1999, for example, Maureen Alexander filed a complaint against Blue
Cross of California, claiming that a doctor removed her gown during a routine
checkup and, for no apparent reason, poked her breasts and pelvic area with a
pin, according to court papers.
Blue Cross forced her into arbitration, and American Arbitration took the
case, even though Alexander said she didn't know she had signed an arbitration
The arbitrator failed to apply the association's health care rules,
including requirements for sharing documents and other information, and ruled
She sued Blue Cross to overturn the award, claiming the arbitrator was
biased and ignored applicable laws, but she lost. She then sued the American
Arbitration Association for breaching its own protocols, but a federal court
dismissed her suit earlier this year.
Meanwhile, in a separate case last year, American Arbitration Senior Vice
President Robert Meade submitted a sworn affidavit saying the organization
"does not require compliance with the (health care) protocol for cases we
In other cases, the association has also failed to require its arbitrators
to follow the consumer or employment protocols.
American Arbitration spokeswoman Kersten Norlin says the association
enforces the protocols unless a case "doesn't fall under one of the defined
categories. You may have an employment arbitration clause involving a health
care company, for example. So it's not always black or white."
Palefsky says that's nonsense.
"The protocols," he says, "are all just a marketing ploy."
THE LAST BARRIERS
On Wednesday, attorneys for the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
will appear before the U.S. Supreme Court on behalf of 27-year-old Scotty
In November 1992, Baker's white Corolla flipped off a rain-slickened
highway near his home in South Carolina. He walked away with a bump on his
head, but a week later started to have periodic seizures.
In 1994, he filled out an application for a job cooking at the Waffle House
in Columbia. He got the job, but turned it down. A few weeks later, he applied
for a similar job at the Waffle House in West Columbia.
The manager hired him on the spot, without asking Baker to complete an
application. When Baker mentioned his seizures, the manager just said, "Show
up for work at 7 a.m.," Baker says.
About two weeks into the job, Baker suffered a seizure, and the manager
fired him. The manager said, "It's bad for business to have you spazzing out
in front of the customers," says Baker.
Eight months later, he consulted a lawyer about suing Waffle House for
discriminating against a disabled employee. That was when he learned about the
arbitration clause at the bottom of the application he had filled out for the
Waffle House in Columbia.
In barely readable type, a four-line paragraph said any dispute involving
the company would go to binding arbitration.
Baker says he never saw the arbitration clause. Besides, the clause was on
the application he had completed at the first Waffle House, not at the Waffle
House in West Columbia where he worked.
But arbitration was his only recourse. And he would have to pay half the
costs, including the arbitrator's fees. Out of work and seeking reinstatement
to a job that paid $5.50 an hour, Baker couldn't afford it.
In 1996, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission sued Waffle House in
the U.S. District Court in Columbia, S.C., claiming the company had violated
the Americans with Disabilities Act by firing Baker for his seizure. Waffle
House, as expected, moved to force the case into arbitration.
Waffle House and its attorneys declined to comment on the case.
When a federal judge ruled that Baker wasn't bound by any arbitration
agreement, Waffle House appealed. In October 1999, the appeals court reversed
the ruling, deciding not only that Baker must go to arbitration, but that the
"strong policy favoring arbitration" barred the EEOC from suing Waffle House
for damages and, in effect, doing an end run around the agreement.
The court, though, also acknowledged the EEOC's congressionally mandated
duty to protect the public's interests. The agency could, therefore, seek an
order stopping Waffle House from illegally firing any disabled workers.
That is the issue now before the U.S. Supreme Court. Can a federal watchdog
like the EEOC use every means provided by Congress, including suing for
damages, to enforce the laws against employment discrimination and other civil
"I can't imagine the court will stop the EEOC from enforcing the law," says
Carrington, "but who knows? And if workers have to protect themselves from
discrimination without the EEOC, to bargain for their own rights, then that
means they don't have any rights."
SUPREME COURT RULINGS EXPANDING THE ROLE OF ARBITRATION
In a series of controversial rulings since 1983, the U.S. Supreme Court has
encouraged companies to impose mandatory arbitration on the public. But
critics say the rulings seriously misinterpret the Federal Arbitration Act.
-- Federal Arbitration Act
For years courts allowed people to back out of arbitration agreements. In
1925, Congress passed a bill making arbitration agreements as enforceable as
any other contract. During congressional debates, the bill's supporters
assured critics that the new law would apply only to "merchants" who entered
1983 -- New policy favoring arbitration
In the mid-1970s, fears of a litigation explosion prompted judges and
companies to push arbitration as an alternative to lawsuits. In 1983, without
explanation, the high court concluded that the Federal Arbitration Act had
created a "liberal federal policy favoring arbitration.".
1984 -- Trumping state laws
Citing that "federal policy," Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote for the
court that arbitration clauses preempt state laws protecting the public's
right to go to court. In dissent, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor said the
decision Ð"utterly fails to recognize the clear congressional intent
underlying the (Federal Arbitration Act)."
1985 -- Fair and competent
In a case enforcing an arbitration agreement in an antitrust action, the
high court called arbitration just as fair and competent as the legal system.
Justice John Paul Stevens disagreed, calling arbitration "despotic decision
1989 -- Ignoring consumer protections
Reversing an earlier ruling, Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court
that a securities firm could force a disgruntled customer into arbitration,
even though arbitrators might not enforce the consumer protections of
securities laws. Justice Stevens compared the decision to "an indefensible
brand of judicial activism."
1991 -- Lost civil rights
The high court ruled that an employee must take an age discrimination case
to arbitration, breaking with its longstanding position that civil rights
cases were too important and legally complex to handle in arbitration.
1995 -- Undermining state protections
The Supreme Court held that states could not limit mandatory arbitration
with, for example, laws ensuring that consumers, employees and others
understand the rights they are giving up by agreeing to arbitration.
2001 -- Covering employees
Earlier this year, the high court ruled for the first time that the Federal
Arbitration Act applied to all employees, except transportation workers.
STARK DIFFERENCE BETWEEN COURT AND ARBITRATION
Advocates of arbitration say the process is swift, efficient and inexpensive.
But critics say arbitration can mean high filing fees, unqualified arbitrators, lost legal rights, limited awards and no appeals.
Court: Filing a case in state Superior Court costs from $90 to $185,
depending on the amount claimed.
Arbitration: Filing fees for arbitration can cost thousands of dollars,
depending on the case and the arbitration firm. Fees for hearing rooms and the
arbitrator's time can run tens of thousands of dollars more and discourage
individuals from pursuing a case.
Court: Judges or other judicial officers hear cases.
Arbitration: Many arbitrators are former judges, but some are not even
lawyers. Arbitrators are rarely required to follow the law and are regulated
in only two states.
Court: Judges are usually assigned according to a rotation or by a
Arbitration: Parties select arbitrators, usually from a list compiled by
an arbitration firm. Firms offer parties various methods of striking names
from the list and reducing them to one. If the parties cannot agree, the firm
may designate an arbitrator.
Court: The right to a fair process is protected by legal safeguards such as
discovery, testimony and evidence rules.
Arbitration: Court rules do not apply, meaning the arbitrator - sometimes
guided by an arbitration agreement or the rules of an arbitration firm -
controls the process.
Court: Judges and juries decide how much an injured party should receive.
Arbitration: Awards are generally lower than in court, and arbitration
agreements sometimes limit the type of damages an individual can recover.
Court: Judges' decisions are public record and subject to appeal.
Arbitration: Most decisions by arbitrators are confidential. They cannot
be appealed and are subject to judicial review only in narrow circumstances.
CIVIL RIGHTS TAKE A BEATING
The stories of three people who discovered how hard it is to fight
-- No arbitration, no job
For three years, Donald Lagatree worked as a legal secretary at a Long
Beach firm, receiving regular bonuses and pay raises. Then in June 1997, the
firm asked him to agree "that any claims arising out of or relating to my
employment . . . shall be resolved by final and binding arbitration."
When Lagatree refused, the firm fired him.
Several months later, he took another secretarial position, this one at a
Los Angeles law office. On his first day, he was handed a letter to "confirm"
the deal, including his agreement to take all disputes to arbitration.
Again Lagatree refused to agree to arbitration, and, once again, he was
He sued both firms for wrongful termination and lost in the state courts.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is pursuing the case
before the U.S. Court of Appeals in San Francisco.
The right to go to court "just seemed too important to give away," said
-- Even egregious decision stands
Rosalind Smith says her co-worker ogled her breasts, licked his lips and
gyrated against her from behind. He complimented her "onion-shaped butt,"
bragged of his sexual prowess and repeatedly asked for "a one-night stand."
When Smith, a secretary at a Pennsylvania social services agency, finally
complained to her supervisor, she was fired. In 1999, she filed a claim
against the agency and her co-worker, charging them with sexual harassment and
At the formal hearing, her co-worker admitted asking her for a one-night
stand and making vulgar comments about her body. But the arbitrator ruled
So she went to federal court, seeking to overturn the arbitrator's decision.
The judge acknowledged that her case met all the requirements for proving
sexual harassment. And when she argued that the arbitrator was simply wrong
about the law, the judge agreed.
But courts are prohibited from overturning even the most egregious decision
by an arbitrator, unless it makes virtually no sense at all.
In declining to reverse the ruling in Smith's case, the judge wrote that he
could not "conscientiously conclude that the arbitrator's . . . decision
exceeded all bounds of rationality."
-- "Plaintiffs have themselves to blame'
Three years ago, when Gabriel Martinez lost his job with Scott Specialty
Gases Inc. in Fremont, he and his wife sued the company in Alameda County
Superior Court, claiming the firm had fired him illegally and ruined their
lives. The company responded that Martinez was bound by the arbitration
agreement he had signed when he started work.
Although Martinez insisted that he had repudiated the agreement when it was
presented to him, the court ordered him to arbitration.
Martinez appealed, and late last year the state Court of Appeal in San
Francisco ruled against him and his wife.
Then the court informed Martinez that by pursuing his case in court, he had
waived his right to take the case to arbitration. Martinez was left with no
recourse against his former employer, either in court or in arbitration.
"While perhaps genuinely regretting this now, . . . " the court wrote,
"plaintiffs have themselves to blame for their predicament."
THE FINE PRINT
Waffle House's policy requiring parties to settle disputes through
arbitration - and give up their right to a jury trial - appears in small,
barely readable type at the bottom of its employment application form. An
"The parties agree that any dispute or claim concerning Applicant's
employment with Waffle House, Inc. . . . or the terms, conditions or benefits
of such employment, including whether such dispute or claim is arbitrable,
will be settled by binding arbitration."
©2001 San Francisco Chronicle