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Thread: Arbitration agreements, would you sign?

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    NC-17 Delilah's Avatar
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    Arbitration agreements, would you sign?

    So, i've been with my shitty-ass company for 2 years this month and today they asked us managers to sign arbitration agreements, deadline Monday.
    My first response (thankfully only in my head) was "No fucking way, go fuck yourself, fuckers!", and my second was "Why? What the fuck are you fuckers up to?"
    My point is, it pissed me off. Everything about it seems wrong and shady and I don't want to sign it. On the other hand, I can't afford to get fired and I imagine that would be the result of refusal.

    So, opinions?
    You're using big words right now that you don't know the meaning of and you're capitalizing them. You shouldn't do that. ~Osito

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    Have you seen 50 shades of grey yet?

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    NC-17 Delilah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by stuck View Post
    Have you seen 50 shades of grey yet?
    No, and I have no interest in ever seeing it. Is that somehow relevant to this?
    You're using big words right now that you don't know the meaning of and you're capitalizing them. You shouldn't do that. ~Osito

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    Senior Member Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Some quick thoughts:

    The Good
    You keep your job

    The Bad
    If you ever have a legal dispute with the company, you'll be limited to resolving it in arbitration. You'll unlikely find a court that will hear your case if you're contractually bound to arbitrate. And you won't be able to appeal the arbitrator's decision.

    The Neutral
    In arbitration there's less chance of coming out as a big winner or big loser. Arbitration is typically less of a "winner takes it all" forum than are courts. Arbitrators lean more towards a "split the baby" approach, trying to give a little to each side.

    Take all of the above with a grain of salt. I've never been in arbitration. That's just what I've heard.

    I wonder if your company has a written policy about arbitration, such as in an employees handbook.

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    a cantori Perdix's Avatar
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    Tell them to go fuck themselves, your instincts are probably correct. Some jobs are not worth having.

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    NC-17 Delilah's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike View Post

    I wonder if your company has a written policy about arbitration, such as in an employees handbook.
    They don't. And I am pretty familiar with arbitration having worked with union staff for the past 10 years or so, so I know the good and the bad, but it rankles me on another level. I don't like the idea of forfeiting my rights despite the fact that I would likely never use them (I really have a problem with lawyers and our overly litigious society and can't imagine a scenario in which I would willingly wade through the clusterfuck that is our legal system), and the fact that they are asking for this now makes me think there could be a reason for it that signing would later make me regret.
    You're using big words right now that you don't know the meaning of and you're capitalizing them. You shouldn't do that. ~Osito

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    Senior Member Sir Caveat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delilah View Post
    They don't. And I am pretty familiar with arbitration having worked with union staff for the past 10 years or so, so I know the good and the bad, but it rankles me on another level. I don't like the idea of forfeiting my rights despite the fact that I would likely never use them (I really have a problem with lawyers and our overly litigious society and can't imagine a scenario in which I would willingly wade through the clusterfuck that is our legal system), and the fact that they are asking for this now makes me think there could be a reason for it that signing would later make me regret.
    Well I guess then your decision depends on whether you're more principled or pragmatic and calculating. My sense is that the pragmatic thing is to sign it if your job would otherwise be in jeopardy. Then if you want to eventually leave then you can do so at a time more of your own choosing. Leaving when you're ready is more of a "fuck you" than not signing their paper and waiting for them to let you go when it's convenient for them.

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    Persona Oblongata OrionzRevenge's Avatar
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    It certainly would have been nice if a discussion about this sort of thing coming down the pipe had of been offered months ago. I'm assuming that it wasn't.

    It can make the company sexy to investors or in the competition for business in some ways. Knowing there is a cap on certain forms of liability and whatnot.

    Some realities are bitter to swallow, but you can go hungry without it.
    Folks of our age group grew up seeing strikes against companies for more money/benefits in the manufacturing sector. Where the corporate position of it being an impossibility was dismissed as greed and manipulation, but we all now know the reality of the third-world doing it for a third of the cost.

    So I guess I would try to see the POV of the company before I decided how I would respond.
    Creativity is the residue of time wasted. ~ Albert Einstein

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    凸(ಠ_ರೃ )凸 stuck's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delilah View Post
    No, and I have no interest in ever seeing it. Is that somehow relevant to this?
    their gonna fuck you in the butt

  10. #10
    Senior Member Spartan26's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Delilah View Post
    They don't. And I am pretty familiar with arbitration having worked with union staff for the past 10 years or so, so I know the good and the bad, but it rankles me on another level. I don't like the idea of forfeiting my rights despite the fact that I would likely never use them (I really have a problem with lawyers and our overly litigious society and can't imagine a scenario in which I would willingly wade through the clusterfuck that is our legal system), and the fact that they are asking for this now makes me think there could be a reason for it that signing would later make me regret.
    What line of work are you in? I would look at some of your competitors and see what kind of broad issues have come up that have resulted in arbitration en masse or at least claims of a significant amount of people handled at one time. That could give you an idea of what may be headed your way. Most corps have these in place w/their employees. It's likely to be done now, while there is nothing on the immediate horizon, so they could mitigate potential loss. For separation agreements, severance packages, pension matters, etc, they prolly already have some standard equation in place so even if there was no arbitration agreement in place, you'd have to have an atty come in and counter against what they plan to offer. In such a case, an atty prolly would get you more but it'd take longer and you'd have to deal with atty's fees...so you might be back at square one.

    I get the fear cuz it seems to be limiting a freedom you already had. If your job doesn't present a nominal chance of long term loss of earning potential, it's not like you'd be in a position to receive much anyway. You'll always have sexual harassment laws, should that be the case, that an arbitrator cannot circumvent, so prolly not a reason to fear the arbitrator. Did the arbitration letter mention anything about appeals? Do you have any atty friends who could give it a quick read? Would they allow a a signed redline agreement?

    I would maybe be concerned with if your company could be bought up or merged with another firm? How many divisions does your company have? If another corp wanted to buy your firm out for one product it sells but then discard all the other workers, this could possibly be to their benefit. Although, it's likely that any such merger would already include a set portion of funds set aside for compensating dismissals. Also, just because it's an arbitrator, it doesn't mean you won't be able to get an atty to rep you. But, you definitely need to check the specific language to see what would be permissible in case of a dispute.

    Someone from your company should be able to explain the agreement in more detail, including what happens if you chose not to sign. Which, of course, is predicated on how much you trust them to begin with. I'm not an atty. I'd still have to read it to know for sure. Unless you're in a line of work that frequently has legal discrepancies between employees and senior mgmt, it's likely never to come into play.

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