In recent years, more and more South Carolina employers are choosing to include arbitration agreements in the employment contracts they offer. However, too many people choose to sign their offered contracts without truly understanding the significance of arbitration and which rights they are signing away. If you have questions or concerns, contacting an employment discrimination attorney can help.
Pros And Cons
Arbitration is a type of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) where instead of going to court, two parties submit their dispute to an arbitrator, who is a neutral third party. In South Carolina, arbitration agreements are generally seen as “valid, enforceable, and irrevocable,” except for employment agreements. These can sometimes fall under that chapter of law if designed that way, but do not have to, and there are specific rights that cannot be bargained away by either party regardless. In other words, employment agreements are more open to interpretation than most.
There are positives and negatives to using arbitration as a method of dispute resolution as opposed to going to court. Arbitration is usually much less formal than court proceedings, and very often will be concluded much more quickly than a lawsuit that can drag on for months (which in turn can save you money). However, arbitration rulings generally cannot be appealed, and in arbitration, discovery is much more limited, which can hurt your case.
You Cannot Sue
The most important negative when it comes to employment arbitration agreements is that if you accept the agreement, you no longer have any right to sue your employer in court, for any reason. Arbitration is intended to take the place of filing a lawsuit. At least in theory, it is quicker, cheaper, and just as fair to the parties. However, this can be a very rude awakening for an employee who perhaps does not read what they are signing very clearly.
It is important to keep in mind that even if you sign an arbitration agreement with your employer, it only covers legal action between you and them. You may still file a charge with the South Carolina Human Affairs Commission (SCHAC) or the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), because this is not classified as legal action. Rather, these charges are seen as administrative or civil charges. Also, if the agency decides to investigate, they may then file suit against your employer on your behalf if it is seen as necessary.
Call A South Carolina Employment Discrimination Lawyer
More and more South Carolina employers are choosing to include arbitration agreements in the employment contracts they offer. While arbitration agreements may pose serious issues for employees, they are still popular. If you are being asked to sign one, calling a South Carolina employment discrimination attorney for guidance may be a good idea. Attorney A. Christopher Potts and the firm of Hitchcock & Potts are ready and willing to help you with your case. Contact our offices today to set up a consultation.