All that can be said in generally fair is that the higher the cost to the worker to engage in arbitration, the greater the likelihood that the court will beat the arbitration provision as unenforceable. The tendency is not to enforce agreements that impose higher costs on employees than the employee would normally have to pay in court. Studies show that workers are generally less allocated and receive less damages in arbitration proceedings than in the courts for almost identical claims. If you were wrongly dismissed after complaining about a hostile work environment or discrimination, an arbitrator usually awards less than a jury of your colleagues. Recently, the California Supreme Court dealt with Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services Inc. (August 24, 2000) 00 C.D.O.S. 7127. In Armendariz, two staff members filed a complaint of unlawful dismissal, including charges of sexual harassment, discrimination and breach of contract. The two staff members filled out application forms containing a compromise clause and then entered into a separate work agreement. In general, the agreement required the worker to submit all employment-related rights to binding arbitration proceedings under California`s arbitration status (the clause did not require the employer to settle the claims he had initiated). The agreement also limited workers` remedies to the wages they deserved between the date of dismissal and the date of arbitration. The clause expressly excluded the award of wages, psychological difficulties, punitive damages, rights of re-institution and/or omission.
It has become a common practice for employers to include a work stoppage agreement in most employment contracts these days, but many workers are unsure of what they are signing. This article evaluates arbitration agreements, including whether you must sign a contract with an arbitration contract and what to do if you are to sue your employer. The public judicial system offers the protection of a relatively free system of employer influence – a protection that is often not provided in forced arbitration proceedings. In addition, the judicial system is open to public law review and its decisions are appealed. In the event of a job, access to discovery is essential because so much information you need to prove your case is in the hands of your employer.