FAQs on Arbitration in Florida Employment Law
Employers in Florida are going to great lengths to comply with employment laws and protect their interests. One strategy which is becoming more common is requesting that employees sign an arbitration agreement, either as part of the hiring process or to retain their jobs. Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), which the US Department of Labor (DOL) describes as any proceeding in which a neutral party attempts to get the parties to reach an agreement and avoid litigation. Besides arbitration, ADR options may include mediation, fact finding, and minitrials.
The rules for arbitration are specific, and the outcome of the process could be binding. Under the circumstances, you should carefully consider signing an arbitration agreement. It is not always the case that you have to refuse, but you can negotiate terms. A Palm Beach Gardens employment lawyer will carefully review an arbitration agreement and advise you on the implications. Still, some answers to frequently asked questions are useful.
What is arbitration in Florida employment law? As one of many different options for ADR, arbitration is a session in which a neutral party or panel of individuals listens to each side in an employment related dispute. You and your employer are allowed to introduce exhibits, documents, and testimony, and the arbitrators will make a decision based upon the evidence.
Arbitration can cover almost any employment law topic, including wage and hour disputes, discrimination and harassment claims, Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) matters, and many others.
Can I file a charge for discrimination despite an arbitration agreement? Most arbitration agreements bar you from filing a lawsuit and force all disputes to the arbitration process. However, the agreement cannot prohibit you from filing a charge with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) for discrimination. You can still go through this administrative process to have officials resolve an employment law dispute.
What are some benefits of arbitration to resolve employment disputes? The arbitration agreement is written to benefit the employer, so you must negotiate the terms to your own advantage. When you add provisions to support your rights, benefits include:
- You have a say in choosing the arbitrator.
- You gain from the specialized employment law knowledge of arbitrators, which is more expansive than a civil court judge.
- You are able to establish fair rules about discovery.
- Your legal costs are reduced compared to litigation.
Can I avoid arbitration even after signing an agreement? There are some circumstances where an arbitration agreement will not be enforced, such as where it is so unfair to the employee as to be unconscionable. Advice from a lawyer can help avoid the situation.
Our South Florida Employment Law Attorneys Can Provide Details
Hopefully, these answers to common questions about employment arbitration will help you understand the basics. You will want more specific, personalized advice, so please contact Sconzo Law Office to learn more. You can set up a consultation by calling 561-279-6114 or going online. Our firm serves Palm Beach County in a wide range of employment matters, so we are happy to provide counsel.