Under what circumstances can you challenge or void a binding arbitration agreement in an employment contract?
3 attorney answers
It’s very hard to answer such a broad question in this forum. You should bring your agreement and your facts to a lawyer to get an opinion on your case.
There is no substitute for the professional advice of an attorney who knows your case and represents you. My post is not, and may not be relied on as, legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Best wishes for a just and expeditious resolution.
You are confusing Arbitration jurisdiction and Substantive validity of the employment agreement. Arbitration means that your employment contract will be reviewed by the Arbitrators. You must go through Arbitration first. If the Arbitrators grossly misapply the law- then you can file with the Court if appropriate jurisdiction to set aside the arbitration judgment. One exception to mandatory arbitration in employment situation is if the termination involved Title 7 discrimination. Then the terminated or discriminated employee can sue in Federal Court.
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Usually the only way around an arbitration agreement is to argue that it wasn't part of a valid contract between the employer and employee, either based on one of the defenses to common law contract formation (fraud, duress, etc.) or because the employer put it in an employee handbook or some other context where it can be argued that the employee didn't actually agree to it.
There is a recently introduced provision in the New York Human Rights Law stating that employers can't force employees to arbitrate discrimination claims, but there is a difference of opinion between courts as to whether this law is valid.
In some cases, you can simply argue that your dispute is not subject to the arbitration clause, depending on exactly how that clause is worded.
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