Lynn, MA asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law for Rhode Island

Q: I am curious as to why an arbitrator would ask this?

I recently attended an arbitration hearing as the claimant after I filed a demand for arbitration with the AAA against my former employer who terminated me without cause prior to the 90 day notice period that was clearly outlined in the employment agreement. I was seeking my 90 day notice pay in order to be made whole.

Anyways, I know it is not unusual for an arbitrator to ask questions. At the conclusion of the hearing, the arbitrator asked me if I collected unemployment benefits and requested that I quantify the payment amount. That wouldn't appear relevant to the case, so I'm wondering if that line of questioning could be explained by anyone here or is it simply a formality. Could it indicate that he may rule in one party's favor over another? I affirmed that I received unemployment benefits. Upon answering, the record was closed permanently and now I await judgement.

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1 Lawyer Answer

A: I am not an employment lawyer, but I am a Mediator and Arbitrator. My guess is that the Arbitrator wanted to see if you received unemployment benefits because, if you did, he would probably deduct the amount you received from any judgment in your favor. He would do that to avoid a double benefit to you by getting both UI benefits and damages.

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