Imagine you are at work, at a job where every day you rise early and stay until all of your assignments are finished. While there you perform an unexpected but rather easy task: 

A courier drops off with you a letter for your boss. 

While mundane to you, the fact that you signed for this letter, which is actually a court summons for your employer, causes your boss to become so enraged that he proceeds to beat, kick and curse you. 

Oh, yeah. You also get fired. 

In a story that has Thomas Jefferson tweeting #WTF and #SMH from his Monticello grave, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled that the housekeeper has no right to a trial by jury for her “employment related claims” because she “agreed” to an arbitration clause when she started work at her boss’ house six years ago. The unanimous court reached this ignominious decision even though the employment contract called for the exclusive use of an arbitration company that no longer exists, after the company (National Arbitration Forum) was shut down as a fraudulent forum whose decisions were fixed against the consumer. The case is Schuiling v. Harris (VLW 013-6-063) and follows a string of 5-4 decisions from the United States Supreme Court that continue to strip away the right to trial by jury that Thomas Jefferson and the Founding Fathers enshrined as the 7th Amendment to the Constitution. 

It may be one thing when a forced arbitration clause hidden within a mobile phone contract causes you to lose money in a dispute with your cellular carrier—it’s quite another when your employer can make you sign away your right to a trial by jury as a condition of your employment contract.