No, your employer cannot force you to sign an arbitration agreement. An arbitration agreement is a contract and will only be enforced against you if you sign the document. Arbitration is bad and should be avoided at all costs. Employers usually present the arbitration agreement as an “alternative dispute resolution forum that will result in a swift resolution of employment disputes.” In reality, your employer is trying to strip you of your right to sue them in court for any unlawful employment practice they may commit against you.
Detriments of arbitration include, but are not limited to:
• There is no right to a jury;
• Arbitration can be extremely expensive;
• The rules of evidence do not always apply; and
• The decision of the arbitrator is final and can only be appealed in extremely limited circumstances.
You have the right to have an attorney review any contract prior to signing, including an arbitration agreement. If your employer has required that you sign one, advise your employer that you want a copy so that you can have an attorney review it prior to your signing.
WHAT IF I HAVE ALREADY SIGNED AN ARBITRATION AGREEMENT?
Not all arbitration agreements are binding. Determining if the arbitration agreement is binding is a fact sensitive endeavor. If you have suffered an adverse employment action, but have signed an arbitration agreement, you should still meet with an experienced employment attorney to see if your matter can be filed in court.