As a Bay Area employee, you want to get down to work and to avoid creating friction with a new boss. However, if you too rapidly sign an arbitration agreement, you could limit your rights and remedies, if you ever suffer discrimination or lose your job due to unfair or dubious circumstances. When you agree to arbitration, you often give up your right to settle disputes via lawsuit. This means that you will not get to take your case before a jury or judge.
The arbitrator who hears your case is supposed be a neutral third party. He or she makes binding decisions — that is, decisions that both you and your employer must legally abide by.
Most arbitrators are fair, and they will hew to California federal laws and precedence. However, some cases are tricky. Moreover, some people believe that juries tend to be more sympathetic to employment law claims than arbitrators are.
The arbitration process also generally requires fewer documents and less evidence. This can work in favor of the employer.
Lastly, arbitration is almost always final, with a few exceptions; whereas, a bad court verdict can be appealed more easily.
Arbitration is not all bad for employees, of course. Arbitration is a less formal proceeding. You may not need an employment lawyer to dispatch with the process, particularly if you’re dealing with a minor matter. Also, arbitrations proceed at a more rapid clip.
Rather than sign an agreement to arbitrate any and all disputes, consider first getting in touch with a Northern California employment law firm to protect your rights. The Law Offices of Daniel Vega would be happy to provide a free consultation to help you understand the nuances of your contract, so you’ll make smarter decisions and enjoy more peace of mind.