An increasing number of corporate employers are requiring their employees to execute arbitration agreements in order to continue with employment. What’s your “compensation” for signing? You get to keep your job. When you execute these agreements, you waive your right to utilize the court system and obtain a jury of members of the community. Instead, you’re before one person: an arbitrator, paid by the corporation. These arbitrations cost tens of thousands of dollars. and the entirety of the cost is paid by the employer.
Why would they do that when the Court system is free? Well, the answer should be obvious.
Corporate America thinks the extra dollars are worth the investment. Corporate defendants win nearly 75% of the time in arbitration, according to national statistics. And when they lose, awards are uniformly lower than jury awards. Arbitration is simply good business for them.
But it’s bad business for you.
Most employees feel threatened into executing these agreements and fear termination if they don’t. While this is a developing area of law, New Jersey employees have a strong argument that terminating an employee for refusing to relinquish his or her right to a trial is unlawful under the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”). This law entitles successful plaintiffs to their lost wages, an emotional pain and suffering award and other damages. Courts have found that one of the fundamental rights under the LAD is the right to file a complaint in court and seek a jury trial. By retaliating against a person for refusing to relinquish that right an employer engages in unlawful reprisal.
It’s important for workers to know all of their legal rights; don’t unnecessarily give them up. If an employer takes action against you for your refusal to sign an arbitration agreement, an employment law attorney may be able to help. Contact us at Costello & Mains, LLC, for a free consultation.