Arbitration is a procedure for resolving disputes out of court. The process involves submitting a dispute to one or more “arbitrators,” instead of a judge or jury. Arbitrators are often, but not always, retired judges or experienced lawyers. Arbitration is generally less formal than being in court, the process can be faster, and usually there is no right to an appeal. A more detailed description of the arbitration process can be found here.
Many people believe that employment arbitration favors the employer, but I have found arbitrators are generally very fair.
However, it is critical to understand that, unlike judges, who are government employees, the parties, or one of them, must pay the arbitrator and sometimes an organization, such as the American Arbitration Association or JAMS, to administer the arbitration. If you sign an arbitration agreement, it is important to be aware whether you are required to pay for the arbitration in the event there is a dispute. Keep the agreement so that you (and your lawyer) know your rights.
We can help New Jersey workers and businesses address wage and hour problems. Questions? Contact Alex Pisarevsky at ap@njlawfirm, or (201) 845-9600.