Arbitration of Employment Disputes by My Employment Lawyer
By Neil Klingshirn
- My employer wants me to sign an arbitration agreement. Should I sign it?
- Do I have to agree to arbitration?
- I was already working when my employer asked me to sign an arbitration agreement. Can my employer fire me if I do not sign the arbitration agreement?
- I already agreed to arbitrate my employment law claims. Does that mean I cannot go to court if I want to sue my employer?
- I already filed the lawsuit in court. Do I still have to go to arbitration?
- I do not remember agreeing to arbitrate claims against my employer. Do I still have to go to arbitration?
- The arbitration agreement that my employer showed me did not have my signature on it. Do I still have to go to arbitration?
- What exactly is arbitration? How bad can it be?
- Why should I arbitrate my dispute?
- Does arbitration have any advantages over court trials?
- Why do employers like arbitration?
- Is arbitration cheaper than court?
- I thought that I had a constitutional right to a jury trial. Can an arbitration agreement violate my right to a jury trial?
- How can I learn more about arbitration of employment disputes and how to avoid them?
If you believe that you have to agree to arbitration, read this article to find out what you are in for and follow the tips for negotiating an employment agreement.
No. However, many employers require employees to agree to arbitrate claims as a condition to being hired in the first place. In other words, employers can force you to chose between arbitrating claims against them or else working somewhere else.
Yes, if you are in Ohio. Unless you already have a contract for a specific period of time, an employer can require you to sign an arbitration agreement in order to continue your employment.
Probably. It is possible in some cases to avoid arbitration. As a general rule, though, if you agreed to arbitrate your claims, you probably will not be able to go to court.
The employer has to prove that you agreed to arbitrate your claims against it. The agreement must be in writing. Normally the employer will have to produce a copy of the signed and written agreement.
Maybe. The employer has to prove that you agreed to arbitration and, in Ohio, that the agreement is in writing. The employer does not have to prove that you signed the arbitration agreement. In other words, if your employer can prove that you agreed to arbitration even though you did not sign the agreement, you may still be bound by the agreement.
Arbitration is a process for resolving legal disputes that uses private arbitrators hired by the parties instead of the courts. Once the arbitrator makes a decision, the parties usually cannot appeal it and the decision is binding.
You might not have a choice. If you "agreed" to arbitration, the arbitration process may be the only place for you to pursue your rights.
It depends on your point of view. Arbitrations substitute an arbitrator for a judge and jury. Employees usually prefer to have juries hear their case, while employers complain that jury awards get out of control. Apart from who decides the case, some say that arbitrations are faster and cost less than lawsuits filed in court.
Employers say that they prefer arbitration because:
- Arbitration has a quicker hearing. Most arbitration hearings usually occur within a year. Civil suits can take two or more years to reach trial.
- Arbitration awards are usually not appealed. The parties have a very limited right to appeal the arbitrator’s decision.
- The arbitration process is less expensive than litigation. This, however, is not necessarily true, especially for the employee.
- Arbitration lets employers change employment rights with an “agreement” with the employee. Courts take a dim view of such restrictions, however, may not enforce them.
Not for the employee. Unlike court, where the judge and jury
provide a governmental service at little or no cost to the parties, the
parties have to pay an arbitrator and an arbitration service. Together
they can easily charge $15,000 or more just to arbitrate a basic
Employers point out that arbitrations may involve less legal work and therefore legal fees are less. These costs are not saved by the employee, however, who typically pays her lawyer on a contingency fee based on results, regardless of the amount of work that her lawyer must do.
Your right to a jury trial is “waivable,” which means that you can decide not to ask a jury to decide your case. The key to arbitration is an “agreement” to arbitrate claims. By agreeing to arbitrate, you agree to give up, or waive, your right to a jury trial.
Try Mel's FAQs on:Questions and Answers, Wiki articles and Blog articles about arbitration agreements.
Contact Neil Klingshirn
AV rated Super Lawyer and Employment Law Specialist