How may people truly understand all of the legal jargon in an employment contract? Do you read every word of it? Do you trust your new employer implicitly enough to trust the way they are explaining it to you? What happens if you miss something? Will you pay the price? The truth is you could. Many corporate contracts now include a forced arbitration clause that could cost you if you ever have to file a complaint.
So what is arbitration? Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that is meant to prevent a dispute from going to court. In arbitration, a third party reviews the evidence and makes a decision, which is usually legally binding and enforceable. Arbitration is a form of “private judging” and works in theory. It was intended to be a freely chosen alternative to litigation among corporate equals. The problem is arbitration has been twisted to force employees and consumers to surrender their right to hold corporations accountable for their wrongdoing.
Employers are creating clauses in the fine print of contracts that makes arbitration the only option if you have a complaint. It is a biased system because the company you have an issue with is the one contracting the arbitrators. Arbitrators have no obligation to follow the letter of the law, resulting in an overwhelming favoring with the corporation. In fact, 95% of arbitrated decisions favor the corporation over the employee.
In an arbitrated case, the arbitrator has not legal authority to force a company to change their ways, even if they are proven negligent, unfair, or dangerous. By forcing arbitration, the company is protected from the law.
Arbitration itself is extremely expensive because of its private nature. This fact on its own deters employees or consumers from following through with a complaint. With forced arbitration, an employee is giving up their right to a court hearing and all that comes along with it – a judge, a jury, and a chance to appeal.
Luckily, you cannot be forced into arbitration for a worker’s compensation case. If you chose to enter into arbitration freely, the decision is probably not legally binding, so if you don’t agree you can still pursue litigation.
If you or a loved one has a claim that is being forced into arbitration, you may need an attorney to represent your interests. Though the process is tough and expensive, it is not impossible to prevail, especially if you are arbitrating by choice. Contact the experienced attorneys at the Coye Law Firm today, for a consultation on your case.