Pay Attention To The Content Of Documents Signed Prior To Employment
Chicago, IL (Law Firm Newswire) June 13, 2014 - Any agreements signed upon employment should be vetted with an employment attorney. Be on the alert for a clause indicating arbitration.
Employment agreements may have a provision in them that a worker must submit to arbitration should there be a workplace dispute. If that agreement is signed without speaking to an employment attorney, the signatory is agreeing to resolve any disputes with an employer by means of arbitration. The arbitrator would be a privately hired judge.
“Agreeing to arbitration as a dispute resolution mechanism means you have signed away your right to face your employer in court,” indicates Timothy Coffey, a Chicago employment lawyer.
Even thought the arbitrator is a judge, they are not a jury and requesting information/evidence from an employer is not as easy as obtaining it via a court order. The most important issue is that in most cases, the decision of an arbitrator cannot be appealed.
Read any agreement to arbitrate clauses carefully, as not all agreements are the same. “If it does not feel right to you, or you have questions about it, try to negotiate with the employer over the wording, prior to signing it, if possible. Many new workers feel they do not have the power to do that. In that case, take the agreement to a competent employment lawyer for advice,” says Coffey.
The sign of a good arbitration agreement is one that provides the worker and the employer equal power to choose a judge to arbitrate, allows a worker the right to be represented by an attorney during the hearing and indicates the employer would pay the costs.
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) guarantees arbitration agreements are enforceable in every state, provided the agreement meets certain condition. The FAA does not apply to truckers, railroad workers and others in the transportation industry, mandates that any agreements must be in writing and must be duly signed before the arbitration process commences.
Once the agreement to arbitrate is signed, an employer cannot be sued, unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as evidence or the law being ignored, the employee was not permitted to get or present evidence to bolster their case or there is proof the arbitrator was bribed or corrupted.
THE COFFEY LAW OFFICE, P.C.
351 W. Hubbard Street, Suite 602
Chicago, IL 60654
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