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.

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.

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Women around the world are constantly bombarded by traditional and outdated societal expectations when it comes to how they live their lives: meet a man, get married, buy a home, have kids.

Many of these pressures often come from within their own families and friend circles, which can be a source of tension and disconnect in their lives.

Global skincare brand SK-II created a new campaign exploring these expectations from the perspective of four women in four different countries whose timelines vary dramatically from what their mothers, grandmothers, or close friends envision for them.

SK-II had Katie Couric meet with these women and their loved ones to discuss the evolving and controversial topic of marriage pressure and societal expectations.

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"What happens when dreams clash with expectations? We're all supposed to hit certain milestones: a degree, marriage, a family," Couric said before diving into conversation with the "young women who are defining their own lives while navigating the expectations of the ones who love them most."

Maluca, a musician in New York, explains that she comes from an immigrant family, which comes with the expectation that she should live the "American Dream."

"You come here, go to school, you get married, buy a house, have kids," she said.

Her mother, who herself achieved the "American Dream" with hard work and dedication when she came to the United States, wants to see her daughter living a stable life.

"I'd love for her to be married and I'd love her to have a big wedding," she said.

Chun Xia, an award-winning Chinese actress who's outspoken about empowering other young women in China, said people question her marital status regularly.

"I'm always asked, 'Don't you want to get married? Don't you want to start a family and have kids like you should at your age?' But the truth is I really don't want to at this point. I am not ready yet," she said.

In South Korea, Nara, a queer-identifying artist, believes her generation should have a choice in everything they do, but her mother has a different plan in mind.

SK-II

"I just thought she would have a job and meet a man to get married in her early 30s," Nara's mom said.

But Nara hopes she can one day marry her girlfriend, even though it's currently illegal in her country.

Her mother, however, still envisions a different life for her daughter. "Deep in my heart, I hope she will change her mind one day," she said.

Maina, a 27-year-old Japanese woman, explains that in her home country, those who aren't married by the time they're 25 to 30, are often referred to as "unsold goods."

Her mom is worried about her daughter not being able to find a boyfriend because she isn't "conventional."

"I really want her to find the right man and get married, to be seen as marriage material," she said.

After interviewing the women and their families, Couric helped them explore a visual representation of their timelines, which showcased the paths each woman sees her life going in contrast with what her relatives envision.

SK-II

"For each young woman, two timelines were created. One represents the expectations. The other, their aspirations," Couric explained. "There's often a disconnect between dreams and expectations. But could seeing the difference lead to greater understanding?"

The women all explored their timelines, which included milestones like having "cute babies," going back to school, not being limited by age, and pursuing dreams.

By seeing their differences side-by-side, the women and their families were able to partake in more open dialogue regarding the expectations they each held.

One of the women's mom's realized her daughter was lucky to be born during a time when she has the freedom to make non-traditional choices.

SK-II

"It looks like she was born in the right time to be free and confident in what she wants to do," she said.

"There's a new generation of women writing their own rules, saying, 'we want to do things our way,' and that can be hard," Couric explained.

The video ends with the tagline: "Forge your own path and choose the life you want; Draw your own timeline."

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