Reseda, CA asked in Arbitration / Mediation Law and Employment Law for California

Q: Can my employer make me sign an arbitration agreement?

I've already been working there for over a year and they're labeling it as "mandatory"

2 Lawyer Answers
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Arbitration & Mediation Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA
  • Licensed in California

A: In California, an employer can require employees to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment, even if the employee has already been working for the company. This is because California law generally favors the enforcement of arbitration agreements.

However, there are some important considerations:

1. The arbitration agreement must be fair and not overly one-sided in favor of the employer.

2. The agreement cannot waive an employee's right to file complaints with government agencies, such as the Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

3. The agreement must provide for a neutral arbitrator and allow for adequate discovery.

4. The employer must provide the employee with sufficient time to review the agreement and seek legal advice if desired.

If an employee refuses to sign a "mandatory" arbitration agreement, the employer may have the right to terminate their employment. However, if the agreement is found to be unconscionable or violates public policy, it may not be enforceable.

It's advisable to carefully review the terms of the arbitration agreement and consider seeking legal advice to understand your rights and options before signing. If you believe the agreement is unfair or unlawful, you may want to voice your concerns to your employer or consult with an attorney specializing in employment law.

Tim Akpinar
Tim Akpinar
  • Arbitration & Mediation Lawyer
  • Little Neck, NY

A: A California employment attorney could advise best, but in general nationwide, arbitration clauses are commonly used and are considered valid and binding. From the arbitration side of things, my experience with such agreements is that they are take-it-or-leave-it. I have seen this in the maritime and other industries. Again, a local employment attorney could provide more definitive guidance. Good luck

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