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Ensure arbitration agreements are fair, reasonable

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

If you intend to use arbitration as a way to manage employment discrimination claims and avoid court, make sure the agreement is reasonable. The more one-sided the agreement appears, the more likely a court will rule it unconscionable and unenforceable.

Recent case: Sharon Zullo worked for a newspaper and signed an ac­­­knowl­­­edgment that she had seen the company’s arbitration agreement and would adhere to it. The agreement bound only her. The newspaper was free to sue her in state or federal court if it chose.

Zullo alleged she had been discriminated against and sued.

The paper said the case should go to arbitration. The court disagreed and kept the case. It reasoned the agreement was so in favor of the employer that it was unfair and unconscionable (Zullo v. Inland Valley Publishing, No. H036242, Court of Appeal of California, 2011)

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