When Prudential Insurance instituted alternative dispute resolution (ADR) to handle employee discrimination charges, it never imagined the move would lead to a decade of litigation.
According to lawsuits filed by 236 former and current Prudential employees, the ADR process established in 1999 is nothing more than a sham. Further, they allege Prudential paid the New York law firm of Leeds, Morelli and Brown a $5 million bribe to ensure all decisions went Prudential’s way.
Prudential maintains the $5 million was not a bribe, but payment for running the system.
The first suit was filed in 2002, and now one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys wants the courts to treat the matter as a mass tort, similar to a class action. Whether that will happen isn’t clear. As many as 359 employees brought cases to the ADR board.
Note: ADR’s supporters tout it as a less expensive alternative to litigation. But if done improperly, employers may end up paying for both. Always consult an attorney when designing or implementing an ADR system.
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