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Contractor arbitration pact doesn’t always preclude court

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

Employers that engage independent contractors sometimes require them to sign an agreement stipulating that any disputes over the contract must be settled through arbitration, not in court.

However, having such an agreement doesn’t mean a court can’t decide whether those workers are, in fact, independent contractors or employees.

Recent case: Hireem and several other workers performed duties for Mike Campbell and Associates. They all had signed independent contractor agreements with the company. The agreements included a promise to arbitrate any contract disputes.

They sued anyway, contending they were really employees.

The court said that question could not be forced into arbitration because the agreements dealt with interpreting the contract, not with whether they met outside requirements for being considered independent contractors. (Elijahjuan, et al., v. Superior Court, et al., No. B234794, Court of Appeal of California, 2nd Appellate District, 2012)

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