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Arbitration of Employment Agreements
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Most modern employment contracts contain an arbitration agreement, but many workers do not know what they are signing. What is an arbitration agreement, should an agreement be concluded with an arbitration agreement, and how can one sue the employer. Let's go through this today.
Can I sue my employer if I have signed an arbitration agreement?

No, you cannot sue your employer if you have signed an arbitration agreement.

If you have signed an employment contract with an arbitration clause, then you have agreed not to bring any legal action against your employer in court. So all your and the employer's debates should be decided by arbitration.
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method that serves as an alternative to filing a claim. It often carries more consequences than a simple case in court or before a jury.
Pros of arbitration

Despite the disadvantages of arbitration, there are advantages to this process. These include:

  • Arbitration is generally much less formal than litigation, which can save you money on attorney fees and paperwork and preparation and filing.
  • Due to the informality, you may not even need an employment lawyer for the arbitration process (although, in many cases, this is a good idea).
  • Arbitration generally proceeds and ends much faster and more efficiently than lawsuits. Where arbitration can take weeks or months, litigation can actually take more than a year.


Cons of arbitration

Despite the disadvantages of arbitration, there are advantages to this process. These include:

  • Unlike in litigation, where you can choose to have your claim heard by a jury, your dispute will be reviewed by a neutral third party called an arbitrator. The arbitrator's decision is generally fair and will comply with the law. However, sometimes staff members prefer to have their cases heard by a jury because they have more empathy for their colleagues.
  • Parties going through arbitration tend to receive less evidence and documents from the other party than if the dispute went through litigation. In most cases, it harms the employee because it is the employer who will have access to more evidence and documents required during the dispute.
  • Arbitral awards generally cannot be appealed. Their finality is very different from court decisions, which can usually be appealed to higher courts to take another look at the case. Employees who do not like the arbitration results or who find them unfair usually cannot get permission from a higher authority.



Sign documents carefully

You may not know that you have waived your rights to file a claim because the labor arbitration agreement is usually included as a clause in an employment contract or in an employee's handbook.

Therefore, all lawyers always urge - read everything before signing! Be sure to read to the end:

  • All clauses of the employment contract;
  • Your employee manual, especially if you are asked to sign a paper that says you have read and understood everything in the employee manual.

Ask your new employer if any of the documents you sign contain a labor arbitration agreement. And once again, read everything thoroughly.



Do not sign

Be aware that your employer may cancel your job offer if you refuse to sign the arbitration agreement. In addition, employees may voluntarily be fired for refusing to sign a contract. But you can always agree. If an employer has been "hunting" you for months, they may opt-out of the arbitration agreement to get you on the team.

If the negotiations were unsuccessful and the employer does not want to exclude the arbitration agreement clause, your last option is to sign the agreement, but with changes.
Fair Arbitration Agreements

It is in your interest to convey to the employer that you agree to sign an agreement with an arbitration clause but on some more favorable terms for you. Suppose you are concerned about an overly long or short arbitration agreement. In that case, you may want to speak with a lawyer before attempting to negotiate. Lawyers are good at finding clauses that need to be changed in arbitration agreements.
Here are just a few points that you can discuss in your arbitration agreement:
1. Arbitrator:
When deciding which arbitrator to use in the arbitration process, make sure you have the same control as your employer. To this end, make sure that both you and your employer can exclude at least one arbitrator without giving any reasons. Remember that the arbitrator's decision is likely to be final, so you need to have a say in who makes the decision.

2. Disclosure of information by the arbitrator:
Be sure to include a clause in the agreement that allows you or your employer to require the arbitrator to disclose all information that may be relevant to any interest he or she may have in the dispute. For example, suppose the arbitrator is a shareholder in your employer's business. In that case, he may be biased in favor of your employer. You and your employer must have the right to refuse an arbitrator who has a conflict of interest.

3. Costs:
Since your employer wants arbitration, make sure that your employer will pay the costs of the arbitration.

4. Do not give up any of your funds:
Again, since your employer wants all disputes to be resolved in arbitration, make sure you are not limited by the arbitration awards and remedies that are normal for arbitration. Make sure that you can still claim damages for emotional distress and punitive damages.

5. Do not give up your right to a lawyer:
If this was a legal case, you could hire a lawyer to represent you. Make sure that you can still have a lawyer representing you in arbitration.
Discrimination and other agency remedies

Since the arbitration agreement you sign only applies to you and your employer, you can still go to court for specific reasons. For example, suppose you feel that your employer discriminates against you. In that case, you can contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and file a complaint. The EEOC can sue your employer on your behalf because the arbitration agreement only applies to you and not to federal or state agencies.
Seek help from a lawyer

It is always easier and even better when such tangled legal problems are solved by someone who has experience in this aspect. An experienced employment lawyer can answer your questions, advise you on the law of your state, and see how it applies to your situation.
Human Rights Advocacy Firm lawyers are ready to defend your interests in any unfair situations where an individual's rights and legitimate interests are violated.
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