What is an employment mutual arbitration and mediation agreement? 4 Answers as of July 11, 2013

My employer is asking me to sign a Mutual arbitration/mediation agreement. I honestly can't understand half of it. What does this mean? Am I giving up my right for unemployment benefits? Should I be concerned or should I just sign? Thanks.

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Law Offices of Steven A. Fink
Law Offices of Steven A. Fink | Steven Alan Fink
You are agreeing that disputes between you and your employer will not go to court. They will be resolved by mutual agreement or by a retired judge or lawyer who will hear the case outside of court and make a final decision. You and the employer are both giving up your right to trial by jury. Your unemployment benefits are not lost by entering into this agreement. You can sign if you want to waive right to jury trial.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/30/2011
Rice & Co., LPA
Rice & Co., LPA | Kollin Rice
Without seeing the actual agreement, it is impossible to give you specific advice. However, this type of agreement ordinarily means that you are agreeing that any disputes concerning your employment would have to be resolved by a mediator or arbitrator rather than a lawsuit. You would give up the right to go to court or have a trial with a judge or jury over most matters concerning your employment . These are substantial rights, which have served many of my clients well over the years, and I would certainly not want to give them up given the choice. (In fact, one could argue that they are included in the U.S. Constitution. Amendment 7: "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved. . ." Unfortunately, courts have recently held that arbitration agreements are nevertheless usually enforceable.) However, despite their apparent inequity, it is very often the case that employers insist on these agreements as a requirement for continued employment, and unless you have other options for employment or unusual bargaining power as a key employee you may find that the employer is not willing to be very flexible on this. In any case, it is unlikely that your particular agreement would waive your right to claim unemployment (or workers' compensation) should you otherwise qualify.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 6/30/2011
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator
Bernard Huff, Attorney/Mediator | Bernard Huff
Please contact the federal EEOC or a mediation attorney to address your concerns.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 6/30/2011
Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC
Rose, Senders & Bovarnick, LLC | Paul S. Bovarnick
You really need to review this with a lawyer. You could be signing away important rights. There is no way for me to tell without seeing the document.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 7/11/2013
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