Did the employee sign an arbitration or jury waiver agreement?
Many employers require employees as a condition of employment to agree to submit their claims to arbitration or to otherwise waive their right to have any claims decided by a jury.
This type of agreement or waiver may be found in the plaintiff’s employment application, any other written contracts, employee handbooks or written policy statements.
Different states have different criteria for evaluating the enforceability of arbitration agreements. The employer’s attorney will have to examine any arbitration agreement or policy to determine whether it:
- Limits the remedies available to the employee bringing suit.
- Limits the time in which the employee may pursue a claim.
- Limits the procedural rights an employee would otherwise have.
- Requires an employee to cover any costs or fees of a private arbitration, above and beyond those that would be required in pursuing a civil claim in court.
In some jurisdictions these factors may render an arbitration agreement unenforceable. Similarly, jury waiver agreements may be unenforceable.