Employers often include arbitration clauses in their employment agreements. This is a clause that requires you to go through an arbitration process before or instead of suing your employer in court. This is a common practice, and at times it makes it very hard for victims of discrimination and harassment to obtain justice. If you believe that you have an employment discrimination or harassment claim arising out of events that took place at your job, but you are bound to arbitration, you should contact the New York City employment arbitration lawyers at Phillips & Associates.Arbitration Clauses
If you are considering taking legal action against a New York employer for discrimination, harassment, or other wrongful conduct, you should seek out counsel from an experienced attorney. In some cases, you may be limited by the employment contract that you signed when you first began working for your employer. When employees start out at a company, they typically have high hopes for their new position, and they may sign away their rights to a trial because they assume that nothing untoward will happen at the new job. However, many employers require their employees to sign a contract that includes an arbitration clause. The arbitration clause may specify how the arbitrator is chosen (often the employer's choice), the jurisdiction in which it takes place, and whether or not the arbitrator's decision is binding.What is Arbitration?
Arbitration is similar to mediation in that the parties to litigation submit their disputes to neutral third parties, rather than taking the case directly to trial. The arbitrator usually has guidelines in place for evidence, and often the guidelines are less favorable to individuals than they are to companies that hold most of the evidence related to what happened. Unlike with mediation, the decision reached by an arbitrator may be binding, can be enforced in court, and often is not appealable. Our employment arbitration attorneys can advise New York City employees on their rights under a specific agreement.Motions to Compel Arbitration
If you do not comply with an arbitration clause in your employment contract, you can be subject to the employer's motion to compel arbitration or dismissal. Arbitration agreements are favored as an alternative means of dispute resolution, even though they are not always fair to a worker who has suffered from sexual harassment or discrimination. Under Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act, these agreements are enforceable, irrevocable, and valid except under grounds that exist at law or in equity to revoke any contract. Courts are required to stay litigation of claims subject to an enforceable arbitration agreement and to compel a party to go to arbitration when either party to the agreement moves to do so.
When determining whether to compel arbitration, the standard is similar to that of a motion for summary judgment. Extrinsic evidence (evidence outside the agreement) is considered. If you are trying to resist arbitration, your New York City employment arbitration attorney will need to show that the claims are not suitable to be arbitrated. There are a few different claims that you can raise to show that the arbitration agreement is invalid, but they are complicated. The court is required to look at whether the parties agreed to arbitrate, the scope of the agreement to arbitrate, whether any federal statutory claims (claims such as those arising under Title VII) that are asserted are intended to be non-arbitrable, and whether to stay non-arbitrable claims pending arbitration. In New York, an employer trying to get to arbitration only needs to prove that the arbitration agreement is valid and exists by a preponderance of the evidence.
Arbitration clauses that are inserted just above the signature line that state that employees are waiving their rights to a jury trial have been found valid. Title VII claims are not considered non-arbitrable, and generally neither are claims arising under the New York State Human Rights Law or the New York City Human Rights Law.Consult an Experienced Employment Arbitration Lawyer in New York City
At Phillips & Associates, we fight harassment and discrimination against employees, even if we are limited by an arbitration clause. We may be able to help you recover damages on a claim arising from workplace misconduct. Our attorneys represent workers in the Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as Nassau and Suffolk Counties, Westchester County, and New Jersey. Contact us at (212) 248-7431 or through our online form.
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