Former employees of a popular energy drink company are alleging executives have engaged in nefarious acts of sexual assault and abuse.
Monster Energy is facing accusations from women who say executives have harassed them in several disturbing ways. What’s more, the company is trying to keep these matters out of the public eye and United States justice system — and likely will be successful in doing so.
Brent Hamilton, who heads Monster Energy’s music marketing division, is accused of strangling his girlfriend, an incident that took place on a business trip in 2016. John Kenneally, as a vice president of the company, is charged with intimidation, bullying, and retaliation against employees who spoke out against his sexism. Phillip Deitrich, director of wholesale and vending at the company, is alleged to have regularly humiliated a female worker while she was employed there.
All five of the women, who spoke out to HuffPost about the matter, have quit or otherwise been fired by the company. A statement from Monster suggested that their allegations were based on a shared vendetta against the company.
“The cases are diverse, unrelated and do not remotely suggest a systemic environment of harassment or discrimination,” Monster Energy said in a statement.
These women’s charges deserve to be heard, as do countless other women's stories at companies across the nation. The #MeToo movement is certainly changing things in our society, and for the better.
However, these women who worked at Monster Energy may not see justice properly served, due to the company’s policy of resolving employee disputes through arbitration and what are known as “corporate courts.”
These types of courts cost the company less money since they exist outside of the U.S. justice system and don’t require businesses to rack up huge legal fees. They’re also reliably favorable to the corporations themselves since the organization hiring them is also the “defendants” in their arbitration “cases.”
Corporate courts make it difficult to create class action suits against companies throughout the United States.
“It unevens the playing field,” attorney Paul Bland said about these types of arbitration courts in 2013.
Nancy Erika Smith, who represented Gretchen Carlson when she leveled sexual harassment claims at Fox News, seems to agree and has a pessimistic view of the chance for justice being served against Monster Energy.
“You’ll never see anything else about these cases because they’re in secret corporate court,” she explained. These women “are not going to see justice.”
These allegations should not be confined to a “court” system whose legitimacy is questionable, at best. Such arbitration will undoubtedly lead to dubious outcomes, and any “ruling” in favor of the defendants is tainted by an air of favorability toward them versus the litigants making the complaints.
Monster Energy should not be allowed to silence these women and limit the extent to which their corporate officers can be punished. And corporate courts, in general, should not be allowed to litigate matters of sexual harassment within any company, period.