Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

image_ArbitrationUnfortunately, employers are increasingly requiring employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements in NJ in order to be or continue to be employed. By signing such an arbitration agreement, the employee is required to waive his or right to file a lawsuit in the event of discrimination, retaliation or any other employment-related dispute. Instead, the employment must forgo his or her statutory right to a jury trial and instead submit the matter to a private mediator. These mandatory arbitration agreements in NJ also often limit discovery, damages and other rights afforded by Courts.

Even more unfortunately, these agreements are often enforced by the Courts. While Courts are required to liberally read arbitration agreements in favor of arbitration, there are limits to that favoritism. In order to enforce such a waiver, the arbitration agreement must be a knowing and voluntary waiver, and must be unambiguous. Our firm has had consistent success in challenging these mandatory arbitration agreements. Among our successful cases are Quigley v. KPMG Peat Marwick, in which the Court declined to enforce an arbitration agreement where it was not a knowing waiver of rights; and Raymours Furniture Co. v. Rossi, in which the Court found that a disclaimer in the front of the employment manual containing the arbitration policy rendered the agreement unenforceable.

There are situations where, under New Jersey law, an employer may violate the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination by requiring an employee to sign an arbitration agreement under threat of termination. If you are concerned about signing an arbitration agreement or if your employer is trying to enforce such an agreement, please call us for a free initial telephone consultation. We will help you understand the problems you may be facing and help strategize a solution for you.

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