HR Management & Compliance

Arbitration Agreements: Dealing With Existing Employees

Our earlier article spells out what to look for to determine if an agreement complies with the new Supreme Court standards. But addressing problems with agreements employees have already signed presents additional issues.

If these agreements fall short in too many respects, you may conclude that they need to be revised or even replaced with updated documents. But then you will be faced with another question that has yet to be resolved by the courts—whether existing employees must agree to the new provisions for them to be enforceable.

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Dennis Cook, a partner with the Sacramento law firm of Cook, Brown, Rediger & Prager, suggests that if the changes benefit employees by strengthening their rights, courts might accept them without the worker’s signature on a new document. And, coupling the revisions with additional consideration to your employees, such as enhanced benefits, could also strengthen your position.

In view of the uncertainty surrounding these issues, the best course is to get professional advice on what to do about the arbitration agreements your employees have already signed. Finally, if you ask an existing employee to sign a new agreement and they refuse, don’t discipline or terminate the person without consulting your attorney first.


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