Helping You Move In The Right Direction

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Business owners often feel they need to walk on eggshells. That’s because the potential for lawsuits are everywhere. Whether it’s over employees, binding contracts or accusations from customers, litigation can leave businesses financially battered and bruised.

Because of these risks, many businesses are now turning to alternative dispute resolution as a more timely and affordable method of handling disagreements.

Litigation can damage finances and relationships

No matter how a conflict starts, settling matters in the courtroom can be stressful and expensive for both parties. As court proceedings can take a long time and the attorney fees increase, disputants may end up feeling more resentful of one another after proceedings are done.

Looking at other options

Alternative dispute resolution comes in several forms, but the two primary methods are mediation and arbitration. In mediation, parties talk out their disputes with a neutral moderator in hopes of forming an amicable agreement. In arbitration, disputants express their frustrations about one another with an arbitrator. Once the arbitrator gathers information from both parties, they can present an award based on the evidence.

Benefits of ADR

These are some advantages of using alternative dispute resolution:

  • Saves the business time by avoiding long hours in the courtroom.
  • Saves the business money as mediation and arbitration costs can be more affordable.
  • It can give businesses more control over the case and outcome of the dispute instead of leaving it up to a judge.
  • It can save the business from damaging relationships vital to its operation. However, the circumstances may differ based on the dispute.

ADR can save businesses time and money

Businesses thrive on a combination of sweat equity, relationship building and profits. When businesses use a less hostile approach to settle disputes, they can reach an agreement and keep operations running smoothly. If you’re a business and are currently considering litigation, talk to an attorney to see if alternative dispute resolution works for your situation.

When you go to work, you have the right to do your job without fear of harassment or discrimination of any kind. If you are an older employee, or older than many of your coworkers, you may find that you experience age discrimination in your place of work. This may not seem like a big deal to others, but it can take a severe mental and emotional toll on you.

You do not have to sit by and hope that this type of treatment at your California job stops at some point. Any type of discrimination is unacceptable, and you may speak up and hold liable parties accountable. You have rights, and you have the right to push back against a hostile work environment and other problems you may be experiencing.

Protections available to you

There are specific protections provided to you under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. This is a federal act that mandates how employers can treat workers and what workers can do if they experience age discrimination. Some of the specific provisions listed in the ADEA include:

  • Employers cannot use a person’s age as a factor in making employment decisions, whether it’s hiring, firing, promotions and more.
  • Employers cannot include age requirements when advertising for an open position, unless it is a genuine prerequisite for the job.
  • Employers cannot use a person’s age as a factor when making decisions related to downsizing.
  • Employers cannot take away health benefits from older workers.
  • Employers cannot retaliate or act against an older employee for speaking out about age discrimination.

Regardless of your age or your age compared to other people in your place of work, you are still capable of adding value to your team, working hard and getting good results. If your employer is treating you unfairly and you suspect that it is because of age, you may want to act quickly to proceed with an appropriate course of legal action.

You may find significant benefit in reaching out for the assistance of an attorney who understands employment law and knows how to protect your rights. It may be appropriate for you to seek compensation for your suffering through a civil claim filed against your employer or liable parties. An assessment of your case can help you see what course of action may be most appropriate for your individual situation.

When it comes to employee disputes and controversies, many California employees often turn to arbitration to resolve the issue. The process tends to cost less money and time than litigation under the right circumstances. Several companies even include in their contract a requirement for the employee to consent to mandatory arbitration should an issue arise while at work.

Recently, the California state legislature approved a bill that could ban forced arbitration if Governor Newson signs it. While this isn’t the first time they’ve passed this bill, many companies are wondering if it will pass now that Jerry Brown (who vetoed similar bills in 2015 and 2018) is no longer the governor.

One of the main arguments supporters of the bill have is that forced arbitration is much more beneficial for the employer than it is for the workers. As a California employee, you should understand what potential disadvantages you have in this process.

Presenting evidence is harder

Presenting and requesting evidence from both sides works differently in arbitration than it does in the courtroom. You won’t get the chance to request as much evidence or documents as you would in litigation. While arbitrators are specially trained in certain subjects and attempt to be unbiased, they often lack the legal experience of a judge or a jury’s opportunity to debate amongst colleagues to come to a group decision. Having the ability to request depositions, a discovery process and interrogatories may make the trial longer, but for many workers, it can help make the final verdict feel fairer.

Restrictive agreements

Since the employer is the one in charge, they can change the rules of the forced arbitration rules to benefit themselves. Many California companies often rely on their workers not reading the agreement before signing their contract so they can restrict certain rights they would normally have such as selecting an arbitrator and their right to an attorney. Make sure you read the agreement closely before you decide to sign it and bring up any concerns you might find on it to an employment law attorney and your employer to see if you can negotiate the terms.

No appealing

The majority of arbitration cases have not allowed the worker to appeal the arbitrator’s final decision. This can be especially frustrating for workers who experience the severe limitations of the process. Not only do they not get a second look at their issue, but because the case was private, the rest of the company’s staff are completely unaware of what happened. Depending on the nature of your case, you may want your coworkers to know what the lawsuit was about so they could take it as a warning.

As California officials continue to debate whether forced arbitration is ethical or not, you should speak with a local employment law attorney to understand the conditions of your agreement should any issues arrive at the workplace.