Rent-A-Center, West, Inc., v. Antonio Jackson

Firm: Sidley Austin

Issue Area: Forced Arbitration & Coercive Contracts

Case summary

Sidley Austin represented Rent-A-Center in a lawsuit from a former employee alleging race discrimination. The lawsuit was dismissed because of a forced arbitration agreement. Sidley Austin argued before the Supreme Court that forced arbitration agreements are presumptively enforceable and that challenges to forced arbitration agreements must go to the arbitrators. The Supreme Court held that the forced arbitration agreement was enforceable, making it harder for employees to vindicate their rights, including the right not to be discriminated against on the basis of race.

Excerpt from the firm's work product

In a brief before the Supreme Court, Sidley Austin argued for expansive enforcement of forced arbitration agreements: "Respondent Antonio Jackson (“Jackson”) signed an arbitration agreement covering his claims against Petitioner Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. (“RAC”). The agreement states that any issues relating to its “enforceability” are within the “exclusive authority” of the arbitrator . . . . Because the primary purpose of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is to enforce arbitration agreements according to their terms . . . . the agreement is presumptively enforceable."

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