"Of course, businesses targeted by class actions for inflicting massive aggregate harm have sought ways to avoid class actions altogether. In the 1990s, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a number of decisions which strengthened the "federal policy favoring arbitration". In response, lawyers have added provisions to consumer contracts of adhesion called "collective action waivers". In 1999 the National Arbitration Forum began advocating that such contracts should be drafted so as to force consumers to waive the right to a class action completely, and such provisions have become very popular among businesses. As of November 2007, the legal validity of contracts of adhesion with class action waivers is unclear, and courts have rendered mixed and sometimes contradictory opinions."
In 2010, Yves Smith wrote an article about a class action lawsuit brought by women who worked for Goldman. The benefit of a class action suit is that all the plaintiffs would be considered if damages are awarded. A class action suit also has the ability to change the way a firm handles its internal policies by changing ways that they support all workers including women.
The suit is about Goldman's discriminating against pay and promotion of women who work at the bank.
Goldman urges court to require arbitration in gender bias case
By Nate Raymond - Reuters (Chicago Tribune)
. . . .
The Goldman case at issue Wednesday was filed in 2010 by three women, including Parisi. The lawsuit accused Goldman of gender bias and an "outdated corporate culture" favoring men over women for pay and promotions.
The lawsuit, which sought class action status, demanded punitive and other damages as well as a change in Goldman's policies toward women.
Soon after the lawsuit was filed, Goldman asked the court to enforce Parisi's arbitration agreement and require her to proceed by herself rather than in a class action.
In April 2011, U.S. Magistrate Judge James Francis denied Goldman's motion. Goldman urged Francis to reconsider his ruling in light of the Supreme Court's AT&T decision, but he declined in July 2011. U.S. District Judge Leonard Sand affirmed the magistrate's ruling in November 2011.
Read the full article here
Read Yves Smith's entire article here