When a Texas employment issue arises, there are several methods by which it can be resolved. Traditionally, the aggrieved employee would file a lawsuit in a court of law with the intention that a judge or jury would ultimately resolve her or his claim.
However, over the years, alternate means of settling claims have become more and more popular. For example, in a recent blog post, we discussed how mediation may be a good way for an employee to resolve an employment claim. This is because the mediation process involves a trained expert helping the parties come to a mutually acceptable solution to the issue. If the parties cannot come to a final agreement, then neither is bound by what occurred during the mediation or by any recommendations of the mediator.
Another form of Texas employment dispute resolution is called arbitration. Arbitration is much less favorable for Texas employees. The process involves a private, non-judicial decision-maker, called an arbitrator, who hears a case and issues a decision. Unlike the mediation process, arbitration binds the parties. And unlike the formal legal process, arbitration rulings can often not be appealed. Arbitration proceedings are also private, meaning the result is kept out of the public eye.
Importantly, arbitration cannot be forced on an employee unless an employee has previously agreed to arbitrate the specific type of claim they are making against the employer. That being said, arbitration contracts are often buried in pre-employment paperwork, and some employees may not have realized they signed an arbitration agreement. In such instances, arbitration agreements can be challenged in a court of law and, if successful, a plaintiff can be freed from the obligation to arbitrate their claim.
There are other defenses to the enforcement of an arbitration agreement. For example, in a recent Texas non-compete case, the court explained that when an employer “substantially invokes the judicial process” prior to beginning the arbitration process, the employer may be considered to have waived their right to compel arbitration. The concern is that an employer may switch between arbitration and the judicial process as one becomes more favorable than the other. However, in order to succeed in this type of claim, the employee must be able to establish that they suffered some type of prejudice as a result of the employer’s actions.
Are You Being Forced into Arbitrating Your Texas Employment Law Claims?
If you have a Texas employment case and are being told you must submit your claim to arbitration, you should contact our distinguished attorneys at Rob Wiley, P.C. We are experienced in fighting to uphold our clients’ right to use the court system to resolve their claims. To learn more, call 214-528-6500 to speak with an attorney about your case.
More Blog Posts:
Can an Employer Fire Someone Based on Their Social Media Posts?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, August 3, 2018.
Can Texas Employers Make Compensation Decisions Based on Race?, Dallas Employment Lawyer Blog, August 9, 2018.