Some employers try to use arbitration agreements to avoid lawsuits by employees in cases of violations of labor laws (for example, in cases of wages or workplace harassment). When an employee signs an arbitration agreement, they agree that any following case will not be evaluated by a court of law, but by an extrajudicial arbitrator. In most cases, this process ends up favoring employers.
In many cases, employers present arbitration agreements at the same time as other documents, such as an initiation contract or company policies. This is done without telling the employee that such an agreement is not obligatory and does not compromise the person’s employment status. In other cases, employers go so far as to inform the employer that signing the arbitration agreement is mandatory as a condition of employment. This is totally false and illegal in the state of California as of 2022.
Arbitration Agreements in California
As of 2022, a law has been in effect that California employers are prohibited, under state law, from requiring their employees to sign an arbitration agreement or make it a condition of employment. Doing so allows an employee to sue the company for violation of rights. Arbitration agreements are not valid in California cases, even if they were signed a couple of years ago.
Additionally, there are recent federal laws that prohibit employers from requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements before legal disputes related to sexual harassment or sexual assault develop. This applies to all states in the country and not exclusively to California.
If you are required to sign an arbitration agreement by your employer and need to know what actions you should take, the help of an attorney can be essential. An experienced attorney can understand and explain the legal implications of your case and define a path of action.
Our team is professional, empathetic, and experienced in employment law. If you have questions, call us for a free consultation.