Rights of Employees
Employment Law Arbitration
What is Arbitration?
Simply put, arbitration is when you hire one or more private individuals, typically a retired judge or a practicing lawyer, to act as the judge and jury in your case instead of suing in court.
Employers Often Request or Require Arbitration
Many employers in New York and New Jersey ask or require their employees to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of being hired or remaining employed. Typically, these contracts require you to bring any legal claims you might have against your employer through arbitration instead of through the court-system’s litigation process. In other words, they require you to waive your right to file a lawsuit and have a jury decide your case, instead requiring you to agree to have one or more arbitrators decide it.
In theory, employment law arbitration is better than litigation because it is supposed to be faster, less expensive, and more efficient than pursuing a case in court. However, in practice, it often is just as expensive and time consuming as litigation.
Worse yet, experts agree that arbitration tends to be more favorable to businesses (including employers) than to individuals (including employees). In addition, studies have shown that arbitrators tend to award lower damages than juries.
Further, in contrast to rulings from a court, there are very limited grounds on which an arbitration ruling can be overturned on appeal. That means an arbitrator's decision usually is final and binding, whether it is right or wrong.
As a result, it is highly recommended that you speak to an employment lawyer before you decide whether to sign or accept an agreement that would require you to arbitrate your workplace disputes. This includes, for example, an arbitration agreement in your offer letter, employment contract, stock option or restricted stock unit agreement, or the acknowledgement page to your employer’s employee handbook.Is It Possible to Avoid Arbitration?
If you already have signed an arbitration agreement and have a legal claim against your employer, Rabner Baumgart Ben-Asher & Nirenberg, P.C. can help you. We are experienced at reviewing arbitration agreements to identify reasons why they might be unenforceable or might not apply to your claim or situation. We are skilled at fighting employers that attempt to improperly force employees into arbitration.
Among other potential ways to avoid arbitration, the law prohibits employers from enforcing most arbitration clauses in cases involving sexual harassment or sexual assault. For more information, please see our article: New Law Bans Forced Arbitration of Sexual Harassment and Assault Claims.Can Your Firm Represent Me in Arbitration?
If you already have entered into an enforceable arbitration agreement, our employment law attorneys still can help you. We can represent you at arbitration regarding your discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or other employment law claim. We handle cases under the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA") and the New Jersey Arbitration Act, at the American Arbitration Association ("AAA"), JAMS and in private arbitration.
We not only handle individual claims through arbitration, but we also represent clients in class action arbitration, including overtime claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") and New Jersey and New York wage and hour laws.
We can help if you are looking for legal advice regarding your arbitration agreement or if you would like to initiate a New Jersey employment law arbitration. Please feel free to call us at (201) 777-2250 to schedule an initial consultation with one of our experienced employment law attorneys. Or if you would prefer you can contact us online.Where Can I Learn More Information?
If you are interested in learning more about arbitration of employment law cases, you might be interested in reading one of the following articles from our New Jersey Employment Law Blog:
- Employer Too Late to Compel Arbitration in Whistleblower Suit
- Court Must Reconsider Whether Sexual Harassment Victim Agreed to Arbitration
- Arbitration Agreements Do Not Need to Designate Rules or Forum
- Arbitration Agreement Unenforceable Unless Clearly Indicates Waiving Right to Go to Court
- United States Supreme Court Rules Arbitrator Must Decide Whether Non-Compete Agreement is Enforceable
- New Jersey Court Finds Employer Waived Right to Enforce Arbitration Agreement