Sunday, March 13, 2016

Read This Before You Sign Any Contract

 Buried in the legal language of the contracts we all sign for jobs, credit cards, and more are clauses that effectively curtail our constitutional rights.

By Michelle Chen

The hardest won rights are often the easiest to lose, and in the thickets of fine print surrounding every labor contract or credit card bill, all it takes is one careless signature to get roped into a deal with the devil—before you know it, you’ve already compromised your right to a fair trial or to speak out against an abusive boss.

Despite American society’s reputation for litigiousness, there are as many things to sue over as there are ways to escape a lawsuit. In February, a coalition of lawmakers led by Senators Patrick Leahy and Al Franken introduced legislation to strengthen worker and consumer protections against binding arbitration—the obscure legal mechanism through which countless people have accidentally compromised their rights, by ensuring that a prospective future dispute with a company gets tracked into a separate legal system rigged with corporate impunity.

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