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Draft arbitration agreements as broadly as possible

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

If your organization uses arbitration agreements to help keep employment disputes out of court, make sure the agreement is drafted to be as broad as possible. Your best bet: Have an attorney write or review the agreement.

Recent case: Deanna Richert went to work for the National Arbitration Forum—and naturally signed an arbitration agreement. Later the company restructured and Richert refused to sign a new agreement. The Forum terminated her shortly after, and Richert sued for age discrimination.

Richert claimed that the earlier agreement she had signed was invalid since she was no longer employed by the entity that originally signed the contract. But the agreement had a clause that said the agreement was binding on the company’s agents and successors.

Therefore, the court said it was still in effect and ordered arbitration. (Richert v. National Arbitration Forum, et al., No. 09-763, DC MN, 2009)

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