The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed many workplaces throughout the country, including in New Jersey. For instance, many businesses have switched to some or even all remote work for their employees. In turn, this has even changed employment laws as they relate to online communications.
The most recent change is the news that the New Jersey Supreme Court now recognizes email as an acceptable delivery method for employment arbitration agreements. The only major condition is assent must be clear.
An employment arbitration agreement is now regularly a part of employment contracts. This sets the precedent for an employee’s commitment to the company. While convenient during these virtual times, switching to email communication could mean the document is not fully reviewed or even understood by the signing party.
What is an Employment Arbitration Agreement?
When you sign an employment arbitration agreement you are basically agreeing you will not sue the company you plan to work for. This means the only course of action allowed for an employment dispute will be arbitration.
Potential Cons of Arbitration
Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution to avoid going to court. Unlike a typical court case, in arbitration, the focus is to streamline and speed up the process. This could mean details often are overlooked and full arguments are not always made.
An additional downside to arbitration is there is no jury. There is just an arbitrator. While they will make the fairest decision they are capable of, it means it could come down to just one person’s decision. Whereas a group of peers is sometimes more sympathetic to an employee’s case.
Another potential issue an employee might have with arbitration over a lawsuit in court is they typically cannot request as much evidence and documentation as they would in a court case. An employer might have the upper hand because they have more access to all documentation that the employee ever provided.
Lastly, while you could appeal a court decision, arbitration decisions are final. In arbitration, if the employee does not like the result there is usually no ‘higher power’ to appeal the case to.
How a New Jersey Employment Law attorney can help
If you are considering electronically signing an employment arbitration agreement, consider contacting an attorney to review it first. At The Law Firm of Morgan Rooks, P.C., fairness, and equality in the workplace are of the utmost importance to us. We expect fairness and equality for our clients from signing the first employment contract and throughout the course of their employment. Call us today at (856) 746-6332 to discuss your options, ask case-specific questions, and discover the next best steps for you.