On Monday, the Supreme Court granted cert in the case of Stolt-Nielsen S.A. v. Animalfeeds International Corp. The court will determine whether class arbitration is consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) when the arbitration agreement is silent on the issue. This case highlights the current legislative drive for the Arbitration Fairness Act, a proposal that would protect consumers and employees from binding mandatory pre-dispute arbitration agreements. The issue is particularly important to whistleblowers who often have no idea about the illegality they will confront at the time the employer requires them to sign such an agreement.
Once again, the hearing record clearly and overwhelming proves that whistleblower reform is long overdue. There were no credible arguments presented that court access and jury trial should not be provided to all federal employees, including national security employees.
Pictured here are Angela Canterbury of Public Citizen, Prof. Robert Vaughn, William Bransford of the Senior Executive Association, Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI), Danielle Brian of the Project on Government Oversight (POGO) and Tom Devine of the Government Accountability Project (GAP). White House Ethics Counsel Norm Eisen is between Mr. Bransford and Sen. Akaka.
Senator Akaka (D-HI) opened the hearing by stating that “federal employee whistleblower play a crucial role in alerting Congress and the public to government wrongdoing and mismanagement, protecting our civil rights and civil liberties, helping to keep us safe, and rooting out waste, fraud, and abuse.” Senator Akaka explained that the purpose of the hearing was to determine how to best protect national security whistleblowers and whether or not federal employees should be provided with jury trials.