Golden Cosponsors Justice for Servicemembers Act

June 19, 2020
Press Release
Bipartisan legislation would protect the rights of servicemembers, ensure they are not discriminated against by employers while on active duty

WASHINGTON — Congressman Jared Golden (ME-02) announced today his cosponsorship of H.R. 2750, the Justice for Servicemembers Act. The bipartisan bill, introduced by Congressman David Cicilline (RI-01), would help servicemembers protect themselves against landlords, cable companies, and other businesses who unfairly punish servicemembers who are forced to cancel leases and other contracts when they relocate for active duty. The bill would also help members of the military stand up for their right not to be fired from or denied promotions in their job because of their active-duty status. 

“When I was in the Marines, I saw the ways in which the young men and women who serve our country are targeted by greedy corporations, ” said Golden. “They prey on servicemembers, especially younger servicemembers, signing them onto leases, car loans, cellphones, and other contracts that use the small text to trick them into waiving their rights and the protections they deserve when they deploy on our behalf. Then, these predatory companies use a process called forced arbitration to avoid being held accountable. This bipartisan bill would end this practice for servicemembers in most cases, and also provide them with critical protections in the workplace.”

The Justice for Servicemembers Act prohibits the use of forced arbitration of disputes covered by the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) and Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA). The SCRA provides legal protections for active-duty servicemembers to ease the financial burden of services, including housing and vehicles leases, telecom contracts, and foreclosures. USERRA protects servicemembers employed in civilian positions from firing, denial of promotions, and other discrimination due to being called up to active duty. 

To resolve disputes under SCRA and USERRA, many servicemembers are sent into forced arbitration, an extra-judicial proceeding that prohibits servicemembers from taking legal action. Forced arbitration is highly favorable to employers. A 2015 study by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) found that consumers won only 20% of cases across six financial markets.