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Press Release

Jackson Lewis Partner Testifies in Favor of Arbitration Before Senate Judiciary Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. (October 8, 2009) – Mark A. de Bernardo, a Partner at Jackson Lewis, testified yesterday on behalf of the Council for Employment Law Equity (“CELE”) in favor of arbitration in employment and against S. 931, the “Arbitration Fairness Act.” de Bernardo called S. 931 “a mandatory litigation bill” that “would impose a death penalty on Alternative Dispute Resolution (“ADR”) as an employment practice.”

The favorable history for arbitration includes a line of U.S. Supreme Court decisions upholding arbitration agreements in the employment context, including the Circuit City Stores v. Adams case argued by Jackson Lewis Partner David Nagle.  “If Circuit City were ´overturned' by enactment of S. 931,” de Bernardo said, “the door would be slammed shut on 95 percent of the employees seeking redress of grievances because litigation is much less accessible than arbitration.” 

de Bernardo cited survey results indicating that 86.2 percent of lawyers and 83 percent of employees favor arbitration, and that more than 70 percent of the individuals who have participated in binding arbitration were satisfied with the fairness of the process and the outcome. 

“For employees, arbitration provides more access to justice and is faster, less expensive, and simpler than litigation,” de Bernardo said.  He called ADR “both pro-employer and pro-employee” and “a common, useful, positive, pro-active, timely, effective and cost-effective tool for making employers better employers and giving employees favorable resolution of their workplace problems.”

In his testimony, de Bernardo criticized the plaintiffs’ bar for seeking “lotto” awards for a chosen few.  “The rest of us?  We would lose,” he said.

“Arbitrators are more predictably balanced, unbiased, fair, and neutral than are the politically appointed judges and randomly selected juries of our litigation system,” de Bernardo concluded.  “ADR in employment programs are flourishing, and when implemented appropriately, are decisively in employees’ best interests.  Arbitration works… and works well.”

Mr. de Bernardo serves as Executive Director and President of the CELE, a non-profit coalition of major employers that advocates responsible employment practices and attempts to influence the consideration of national policy issues of importance in legal, legislative, and regulatory forums at the federal and state level.  He also is a Partner in the Washington, DC Region office of Jackson Lewis, a national workplace law firm with 600 attorneys practicing in 42 cities nationwide. 

Mr. de Bernardo can be contacted by calling (703) 483-8300.  A full version of his testimony can be found here.

About Jackson Lewis

Founded in 1958, Jackson Lewis is dedicated to representing management exclusively in workplace law with 600 attorneys practicing in 42 cities nationwide.  Jackson Lewis has a wide-range of specialized practice areas, including:  Affirmative Action and OFCCP Diversity Planning; Disability, Leave and Health Management; Employee Benefits, including Complex ERISA Litigation, Workplace Privacy and Executive Compensation; Global Immigration; Labor, including Preventive Practices; Litigation, including Class Actions, Complex Litigation and e-Discovery; Trade Secrets, Non-Competes and Workplace Technology; Wage and Hour Compliance; and Workplace Safety Compliance.  In addition, Jackson Lewis provides advice nationally in other workplace law areas, including:  Reductions in Force, WARN Act; Corporate Governance and Internal Investigations; Drug Testing and Substance Abuse Management; International Issues; Management Education, including e-Based Training; Alternative Dispute Resolution; Public Sector Issues; Government Relations; Corporate Diversity Counseling and College and University Employment Law and Compliance Issues. 

Additional information about Jackson Lewis can be found at

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For more information, please contact: Lara Hamm, Jackson Lewis T: (212) 545-4031, E: Kara Dullea, Details T: (864) 275.3331, E: