#1
Well, they are in the news again. This time it is not for financial woes.

It looks like all employees of Guitar Center (at least retail store locations) must sign an eForm stating that they waive their rights to or ability to sue the company. They want you to follow their arbitration process instead.

In summary it, "...forces employees to relinquish their rights to sue the company in class action lawsuits over wage violations, workplace discrimination and unjust firings, among other disputes."

So in other words, your boss could under pay you and then fire you along with dishing out self proclaimed discrimination towards you and you couldn't sue them? Or is this specific to class action lawsuits only?

https://www.ultimate-guitar.com/news/industry_news/guitar_center_threatening_to_fire_employees_unless_they_sign_a_contract_vowing_not_to_sue_the_company.html

I think the UG editors meant to use except here instead
"GC will cover all arbitration costs, expect for the employee's lawyer, if he or she chooses one."

Here is original article:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/guitar-center-arbitration-agreement_us_5698fb9be4b0b4eb759e0e5b


I put this here since it is related to guitar gear and accessories and GC is a pretty big name - at least here in the States.
Last edited by 311ZOSOVHJH at Jan 18, 2016,
#2
Did anything cause that agreement to be mandated? As in, someone complaining about pay or discrimination or lay-offs?

And they can still file a dispute but it has to be outsourced, away from the company's name? Or maybe I don't know enough about workplace law to grasp what is going on...
Last edited by Will Lane at Jan 18, 2016,
#3
But yes, let's deregulate corporations some more...
I don't give a shit if you listen to me or not
#4
it's not legally binding, more of a scare tactic. you can't sign away your legal rights in most cases and certainly not under duress. telling them sign or be fired was a huge mistake on their part. some employees were attempting to unionize which is what this is all about. they just hope that most of the kids that work there don't know their rights and want to avoid the hassle. you can bet the union or the civil liberties groups will fight this and make GC look like bigger idiots than they already have.
#5
It's becoming standard. Most likely you've agreed to arbitration (without realizing it) with your credit card companies, cell phone services, medical services, etc. Plus the Supreme Court and lower courts, surprise...surprise, have given the ok to it.

The initial argument for it of course makes sense. The point was allegedly to put an end to frivolous class action law suits. Ever been part of those where you get a letter in the mail asking if you want to take part and some years later you get a $5 check or a coupon for a couple of bucks? While the lawyers cash in millions. But now of course it's been used to take away everyone's right to sue over anything in court.

The NY Times had a lengthy article about this which I recommend reading. They call it ‘privatization of the Justice System.’ I see it more as a way to free corporations of any responsibility, obligation, and possible punishment while leaving the customer/employee completely powerless. This affects everyone, not just GC employees.

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/02/business/dealbook/in-arbitration-a-privatization-of-the-justice-system.html?_r=0
#6
Those contracts are becoming pretty standard for any employee, they're sticking them into most hiring contracts nowadays.

And BTW - wonder who the arbitrator will favor? The multi billion company that brings them a hefty chunk of business their way or the little man on the other side?

That's like saying insurance adjusters work for the claimant
#7
Speaking as someone going into alternative dispute resolution (arbitration and mediation, aka ADR), I have to say that a lot of the fear of ADR is unfounded.

ADR is generally faster and cheaper than going through the standard legal system, and it is still subject to most of the same safeguards. Including being subject to subsequent challenge in court as to the legality and fairness of the result. Standards of proof and admissibility are also more relaxed, which favors the participants without vast financial resources.

Are there arbitrators who might forget their neutrality and favor clients with deep pockets? Sure...and you could say the same of judges. Juries can be bought, too.
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Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Jan 19, 2016,
#8
Quote by dannyalcatraz
Speaking as someone going into alternative dispute resolution (arbitration and mediation, aka ADR), I have to say that a lot of the fear of ADR is unfounded.

ADR is generally faster and cheaper than going through the standard legal system, and it is still subject to most of the same safeguards. Including being subject to subsequent challenge in court as to the legality and fairness of the result. Standards of proof and admissibility are also more relaxed, which favors the participants without vast financial resources.

Are there arbitrators who might forget their neutrality and favor clients with deep pockets? Sure...and you could say the same of judges. Juries can be bought, too.


I agree with this. I've also read that as a general rule arbitration tends to favor the employee, contrary to what a lot of people believe. I know that were I an arbitrator and I had to look at two equally compelling concerns, I would be inclined to pick the one that was more favorable instead of the one that was least harmful, which is almost always going to accrue to the employee.
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#9
i'm still trying to picture a guitar center union meeting.
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
#10
Quote by gregs1020
i'm still trying to picture a guitar center union meeting.


Just google "NORML meeting" images...
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin
#11
Great feedback guys.


BTW - I wasn't trying to take sides on this. I was more shocked that Guitar Center employees have until Friday to sign this or they are fired. I just think it is bad timing for a company in their position and it makes you question their motives.

As much as I dislike some of their practices, I really want GC to be solvent and have happy employees that want to work there. I know some guys at my local GC that have been there awhile and they are just regular guys like you and me and they dig gear and they like helping you make a sound choice. There are also of course, plenty of the opposite of this.

I have two GCs in my city and I often get gift cards from family at holidays and I've gotten a lot of good used gear there.
#12
it's a great place for used gear. that's for sure.

i have what used to be a decent store near me, the Arlington Heights location. it's not nearly what it used to be but it's still fun to see what's hanging in the back of the store used.
Quote by Arby911
Just google "NORML meeting" images...

hahahahaa not gonna lie, that works for Sam Ash too!
I wondered why the frisbee was getting bigger, then it hit me.
Last edited by gregs1020 at Jan 19, 2016,
#13
Maybe they're trying to cut out unions by doing the arbitration thing? I know in the North there are some strong unions that fight for employee rights which according to US businesses is considered an anathema.

The way I see it though is that the bigger business that brings in more arbitration business to a firm will get favorable treatment just looking at basics, as to who is bringing your bread to the table. If it was good for the employee they wouldn't be forcing it, it would be optional.

Sounds to me like that there will be some future paycheck discrepancies and time shorting of employees so they want to cover their asses before it gets there.
#14
Quote by monwobobbo
it's not legally binding, more of a scare tactic. you can't sign away your legal rights in most cases and certainly not under duress. telling them sign or be fired was a huge mistake on their part. some employees were attempting to unionize which is what this is all about. they just hope that most of the kids that work there don't know their rights and want to avoid the hassle. you can bet the union or the civil liberties groups will fight this and make GC look like bigger idiots than they already have.

^+1 Labor laws are labor laws, and employees can't sign away those rights. No agreement signed by the employee will excuse GC from obeying labor laws. Many companies have learned a hard lesson on this, especially when it comes to overtime.
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#15
Quote by diabolical
If it was good for the employee they wouldn't be forcing it, it would be optional.



That's simply not true, you're looking at it through a false binary lens. It's not about good or bad for the employees, it's about cost savings to the company. Arbitration is cheaper than going to court, end of story. Even though arbitration often benefits the employee, it's still less expensive for the company. It's sort of a win-win.

As an example we had a court case settled recently where we were sued along with 2 other parties. Even though there was NO wrongdoing on our part and the case against us was eventually dismissed, it cost over a million dollars in Attorney fees just to get it to that point. If we would have been able to arbitrate it most likely wouldn't have cost that much to LOSE the damn thing....

We do have arbitration clauses with our employees, as we get an insurance break for them. It's not about screwing the employees, it's about saving money for the company. I only know of a half-dozen arbitrations that have taken place here and elsewhere, and in every single case the employee involved was VERY pleased with the end result.

And in many of those, the employee couldn't have afforded an attorney so not having arbitration would have left them completely ass-out. (Or at best with a contingency lawyer that would have taken the lion's share of any potential settlement anyway...)
“Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge.”
Charles Darwin