In December 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced it would back off from its opposing stance to forced arbitration in employment contracts. According to a press release given by the EEOC, it determined that forced arbitration is indeed enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act. It cited numerous Supreme Court decisions throughout the last two decades that have backed the legal validity of forced arbitration.
The announcement has been seen as a windfall for corporations across the country and a blow to the working class. A spokesperson from the American Association for Justice (AAJ) commented that corporations would be even more tempted than before to hide discrimination and other illegal employment actions behind the metaphorical and literal closed doors of arbitration. When an employee or worker is brought into arbitration by their employer, the matter is kept strictly confidential and off public records.
The EEOC defended its decision by saying the announcement did nothing to detract from employee rights. It was merely an instruction to EEOC staff investigators to be cautious when relying upon the preexisting “Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment” as a core of their investigations or during courtroom litigation. The EEOC still lends its services to employees who feel they have been discriminated against by their employees, even if they have already concluded the matter in forced arbitration.
The Ongoing DoorDash Tipping Policy Controversy
Simultaneously with the EEOC’s announcement regarding its policy shift on forced arbitration, DoorDash is fighting off plaintiffs that accuse the food delivery company of hiding dishonest policies and abusing arbitration methods. According to plaintiffs in California, “Dashers” who deliver food for the company – somewhat like an Uber driver except they transport meals, not people – can have their wages gouged by DoorDash if they get tipped by consumers who use the app. Apparently, within the app’s fine print, DoorDash will lower a Dasher’s guaranteed wages by an amount equal to the tips they receive.
For example, a Dasher is guaranteed $5 of pay from DoorDash per delivery made. If they deliver food and get a $4 tip from the consumer, DoorDash will only pay them $1, totaling $5 between that amount and the tip.
Plaintiffs against DoorDash have said the information regarding the tipping policy was too difficult to locate within the app. Furthermore, plaintiffs have claimed that there was no process to verify that they even agreed to the terms and conditions of the app.
However, with the EEOC’s recent announcement, it seems DoorDash is poised to defeat the lawsuits against it, relying entirely on arbitration instead to settle the issues.
Farah Law is an employment law firm in Houston representing the rights of employees, workers, and independent contractors. Visit our blog often to check for updates about this developing story. You can also call (888) 481-9359 if you need legal assistance with an employment law case in Texas.