The relationship between employers and employees, regardless of whether they are rank-and-file workers, managerial employees, or corporate officers, is always complicated. Yet, it is essential to both the success of the business and the attitude of the workforce. This relationship can be deeply affected by disputes concerning wrongful termination, breach of contract, executive compensation, harassment and discrimination, and statutory and contractual rights.
Employment arbitration is now widely recognized as a preferred method for resolving employment disputes in the non-union sector. Decisions of the United States Supreme Court, as well as various federal and state courts, have paved the way for employers to mandate that legal disputes with their employees be decided outside of court. In fact, increasingly, employers are writing arbitration clauses into individual employee contracts, company policy manuals, employee handbooks, and employment application forms. The benefits to employers can be substantial in terms of reducing costs, increasing efficient settlement of workplace disputes, and avoiding publicity.
Employment arbitration, however, is not intended to be a boon only to employers. The objective is, or should be, to provide fair, effective, and unbiased systems for resolving employment disputes – systems that are beneficial to employees as well as employers. Recent judicial decisions suggest that while the courts support the private resolution of statutory claims, arbitration must afford employees substantive and procedural protections if the process if going to be mandated as a condition of employment for the vindication of statutory rights.
An arbitrator who is knowledgeable about the developments in employment law and legislation, and who is experienced in the interpretation of employment agreements, is the crucial ingredient to any procedure that is utilized for the resolution of employment disputes. An arbitrator has wide discretion and power to resolve the issues, determine liability and damages, and influence the ultimate costs of the process. Hence, the choice of arbitrator is a major aspect of any employment arbitration.
Joan Parker is a professional neutral, author, and educator who earned her Ph.D. from the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. While pursuing her doctorate, she also studied at the Cornell Law School, and throughout her career as a neutral, she has expanded her knowledge of employment law. She has more than three decades of experience acting as an arbitrator. She is widely used to resolve employment disputes throughout the East Coast of the United States and is a frequent speaker at conferences dealing with the enforceability of arbitration agreements, practice and procedure in employment arbitration, and trends in the use of employment arbitration for resolving statutory and contractual claims.
Your choice of arbitrator can make or break your case. With Joan Parker as your arbitrator, you are assured of an experienced neutral who will manage the process with competence, professionalism and impartiality, and who will render a decision that is properly grounded in law and case precedent.