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I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Did you know that you've very likely agreed to be forced to do something? Sounds confusing, I know. But it's actually pretty simple. You've probably given up more rights than you can even imagine — without knowing it.

I'll Bet You've Put Yourself In A Really Bad Position Without Even Knowing It At Least Once

Two words: forced arbitration.

Do you know what forced arbitration is? If not, you should. You've likely signed contracts with forced arbitration clauses. Basically, you agree to give up your right to sue the other party or to appeal the arbitrator's decision. If you're unhappy with something — like, say, the other party violating a law — the other party (usually a corporation much bigger than you with far deeper pockets than you) picks and pays an arbitrator. That's who decides who wins the case. That person is supposed to be a neutral decision-maker.


One word: unfair.

The system isn't really set up to allow a totally neutral person to serve as arbitrator, though. Does it sound like that person — again, who is selected and paid by the company you're unhappy with — is in a position to make a sound, fair decision?

Uhhh ... nope.

Two more words: one-sided.

If a company isn't happy with an arbitrator's decisions, do you think they'll hire that person again?

Uhhh ... probably not.

So common sense tells us that arbitrators juuusssst might not always be 100% neutral.

Wait, just how common is forced arbitration?

The good news: It's not your fault for signing agreements that contain forced arbitration clauses. You're not an idiot for failing to read the fine print. I went to law school. I don't sign anything without reading it carefully. And I still sign them all over the place, even though I know how crappy they are. It's not like we're going to tell the person who works for the cellphone company, "I'm sorry, I'm not cool with this forced arbitration clause. Can you take it out?"

'Cause we all know they're not taking it out.

And I pretty much need my cellphone. And my Internet access. And my car. And...

Yeah, they're everywhere. In fact, over 95% of all credit card debts are subject to forced arbitration. Almost all car sales, new or used, include a clause in the contract. Heck, over 90% of all nursing homes put forced arbitration clauses in their contracts. And an estimated 30-40% of American employees are subject to forced arbitration clauses.

Why's that so bad?

There's that old saying: "You can have all the justice you can afford." Well, when it comes to forced arbitration clauses, it really doesn't even matter what you can afford. The deck is that stacked against the party that didn't write the contract. Forced arbitration clauses can result in outcomes contrary to state and federal law. They can leave people who would otherwise be in the legal right financially (and emotionally) devastated. And they're becoming waaaay too prevalent.

These people were subject to forced arbitration ... and it didn't end well.

It all seems very abstract, but let's look at a handful of people who found out exactly how crappy forced arbitration clauses can be for the regular person. Watch this:

Speak out against forced arbitration!

If you're not down with being backed into a legal corner, start talking about forced arbitration. Companies are responding to public pressure. Congress is listening and is considering legislation. Consumer protection agencies are taking action. You can share this post to spread the word.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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via The Walt Disney Company / Flickr

One of the ways to tell if you're in a healthy relationship is whether you and your partner are free to talk about other people you find attractive. For many couples, bringing up such a sensitive topic can cause some major jealousy.

Of course, there's a healthy way to approach such a potentially dangerous topic.

Telling your partner you find someone else attractive shouldn't be about making them feel jealous. It's probably also best that if you're attracted to a coworker, friend, or their sibling, that you keep it to yourself.

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Courtesy of CeraVe
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"I love being a nurse because I have the honor of connecting with my patients during some of their best and some of their worst days and making a difference in their lives is among the most rewarding things that I can do in my own life" - Tenesia Richards, RN

From ushering new life into the world to holding the hand of a patient as they take their last breath, nurses are everyday heroes that deserve our respect and appreciation.

To give back to this community that is always giving so selflessly to others, CeraVe® put out a call to nurses to share their stories for a chance to be featured in Heroes Behind the Masks, a digital content series shining a light on nurses who go above and beyond to provide safe and quality care to patients and their communities.

First up: Tenesia Richards, a labor and delivery nurse working in New York City who, in addition to her regular job, started a community outreach program in a homeless shelter that houses expectant mothers for up to one year postpartum.

Tenesia | Heroes Behind the Masks presented by CeraVe www.youtube.com

Upon learning at a conference that black mothers in the U.S. die at three to four times the rate of white mothers, one of the widest of all racial disparities in women's health, Richards decided to take further action to help her community. She, along with a handful of fellow nurses, volunteered to provide antepartum, childbirth and postpartum education to the women living at the shelter. Additionally, they looked for other ways to boost the spirits of the residents, like throwing baby showers and bringing in guest speakers. When COVID-19 hit and in-person gatherings were no longer possible, Richards and her team found creative workarounds and created holiday care packages for the mothers instead.

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