Arbitration agreements have now become the norm with many companies when hiring new employees. This means that an aggrieved employee who desires to sue the company in court, and before a judge or jury, may be prevented from doing so if such a written agreement is in effect. Rather, the aggrieved employee, who for example claims wrongful termination, or sexual harassment, will be compelled to bring the case before an arbitrator.
In a recent appellate decision, the court held that such an agreement between a company and an employee to settle any such dispute by way of an arbitrator might be invalid if the specific arbitration forum – such as AAA Arbitration – is not specified in the agreement.
In the recent case of Franzman v. Jenny Craig, Inc., the Appellate Division ruled that an 82-year old employee who alleged she was being phased out of the company because of her age – an age discrimination claim – could sue in court because the agreement she entered into with Jenny Craig was not specific enough as to the terms of arbitration.