Proof That Arbitration Is Bad for Employees

A little while back, I had posted about arbitration and whether or not it is good or bad for employees to resolve their claims against their employers or co-workers. Arbitration is the resolution of legal disputes normally handled through lawsuits by instead hiring a private judge to rule on the dispute. My view has always been that arbitration is bad because it stacks the cards against the employee.

Now I can point to actual proof that arbitration is bad for employees. The highly-esteemed Workplace Prof Blog reports on a study that was conducted by Alexander Colvin at the Pennsylvania State Department of Labor Studies and Industrial Relations (that’s a mouthful). Colvin’s report, entitled “Empirical Research on Employment Arbitration: Clarity Amidst the Sound and Fury?” (that’s another mouthful!), finds that employees win more often and get bigger awards when they sue their employers in court instead of arbitrating.

Let’s all hope Colvin continues his research so that we can settle this long-standing debate in the employment law field once and for all. Even better, perhaps studies like these can reverse the nation-wide movement toward arbitration (which in my view is anti-employee).

And for you employees, when your boss asks you to sign an arbitration agreement, think twice.


  1. Megan MedIrator on January 21, 2012 at 4:10 pm

    One thing that you need to consider is the fact that in many of the cases employees go to arbitration they are forced into it as a result of a contract that they signed.  Sometimes the company even gets to choose the arbitration services.  That clearly is not fair to the employee.

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