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Arbitrations in Employment

Lawyer of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination

Arbitration Team in Somerset County, New Jersey

Arbitration involves the use of a neutral third party, also known as an arbitrator, to settle disputes between two conflicting parties. Arbitration is often used in a variety of legal settings, including employment disputes. In many situations, employees may be subject to an arbitration agreement by their own consent or the consent of their union. Unfortunately, however, many employees may not even be aware that their employment relationship is subject to arbitration or that arbitration may involve the waiver of some of their legal rights.

Often an employer requests that a new or existing employee sign a code of conduct or employee manual that contains stipulations surrounding the terms of employment. One common type of stipulation is an agreement to use binding arbitration in the event that the employer-employee relationship turns sour and a dispute arises. If the employee is the member of a union, the union may have agreed to arbitration with certain employers through a collective bargaining agreement, which is applicable to all covered union employees.

Arbitration can often lead to a quick and inexpensive resolution to a legal dispute. Rather than going to court, arbitration allows parties to meet outside of the courthouse to present their respective sides of the story and address the problems. The downside to arbitration, however, is that because it is often binding, the decision of the arbitrator is usually final, and an employee who receives an unfavorable outcome from the arbitration process cannot later file a lawsuit against the employer for the same incident. Consequently, it is important for an employee to know exactly what to expect and to have the counsel of an experienced employment attorney to address the issues involved prior to going to arbitration.

On its face, an arbitration agreement may be worded in a way that seems unfair to employees because a common requirement is the employee’s waiver of rights to sue the employer. If, however, the arbitration agreement is found to be invalid, the employee may retain the right to sue. Generally, arbitration agreements are treated as legal and enforceable contracts, but this is not always the case. For instance, in the event that an arbitration agreement is deemed to be insufficiently specific, New Jersey courts have at times determined that the agreement cannot be enforced. Similarly, if an employee is not given notice that an arbitration agreement applies to the terms of employment, or if the employee is coerced or misled when signing an arbitration agreement, then the agreement might be unenforceable.

Arbitration agreements and the arbitration process are important legal issues in the workplace. If you have been asked to consent to an arbitration agreement or are unsure of whether an arbitration agreement applies to your job, you may need legal advice. An experienced employment attorney can help you understand your rights and the exact implications of an arbitration agreement. If you develop a dispute with your employer, your attorney will be able to represent you during the arbitration process to help ensure that your rights are respected and upheld.

If you have been faced with an arbitration agreement and do not know whether to sign it or not, or if you have been told that you must go through the arbitration process and are in need of an attorney, contact Mark | Lavigne, LLC at 908-460-8996 or contact us by clicking on the below page and email us your questions.

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