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February 29, 2000

Chamber Supports Keeping Binding Arbitration Current System Works to Settle Disputes Fairly

WASHINGTON, D.C., March 1, 2000 – The United States Chamber of Commerce called on Congress to maintain the current binding arbitration system for workplace disputes, in testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“Any legislation that prohibits mandatory arbitration of employment disputes is fundamentally flawed, since it forces employers and employees into an expensive and time consuming legal system.” said Lawrence Z. Lorber, a partner in the Labor and Employment group in the law firm of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal, and member of the Labor Policy Committee of the U.S. Chamber.

According to testimony delivered on behalf of the Chamber, Lorber noted that the Supreme Court, lower federal courts and state courts have overwhelmingly voiced their approval of arbitration as a fair, quick and relatively inexpensive way to resolve employment problems in the workplace.

Litigation represents a tremendous drain on employers’ time and resources into a legal black hole of repeated demands for depositions, documents and lengthy discovery periods, according to the Chamber. No employee benefits while the uncertain outcome of his/her workplace grievance drags on for years without resolution. Usually, the big winners in litigation run amok are lawyers.

“In many instances, employment law has become a legal lottery for lawyers,” said Lorber. “We don’t see the hundreds or thousands of cases in which the plaintiff is awarded a minimal judgment while his or her attorney is handsomely rewarded. I recently filed an appeal in a case where the employee received $5000 and the attorney received $90,000.”

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