Lost acknowledgment won’t sink arbitration agreement

A case will go to arbitration even though the employer couldn’t find a signed acknowledgment page showing an employee agreed to arbitrate disputes. Because the employer made it a standard practice to have applicants sign such acknowledgments, the court said the employee was bound by the agreement.

Recent case: Three employees sued their employer, alleging unpaid overtime. For two workers, the employer located signatures on agreements requiring arbitration of workplace disputes. However, it could not find the third. (The agreement also appears in the employee handbook, and supervisors testified signing was a condition of employment.)

The court said the third employee was bound, too. (Villarreal v. Perfection Pet Foods, ED CA, 2017)

Final note: Be sure someone can testify about when arbitration agreements were signed and that all employees receive a copy of the handbook containing the agreement.