Study shows employees may fare worse in arbitration cases

When you have a complaint about an employer who is breaking the law, one of your primary concerns is getting the behavior to stop. For some individuals, such as those who are victims of discrimination or harassment, legal action is necessary.

The methods of resolution in these cases vary. Sometimes, mediation is possible but there are times when arbitration is used. If you are the employee in the case, you should be very careful if you have to go through arbitration.

Mixed results in a study

A study that was done by a workplace dispute resolution expert at the University of Illinois shows that some employment complaints fare much worse for the employee when they are handled using arbitration. Since the 1990s, arbitration has become more widely used. Looking at the statistics since then has shown that discrimination cases have worse outcomes than other employment matters like wrongful termination when they are handled with this alternative dispute resolution method.

The paper looked at cases that were filed from 1991 through 2006 that involved the financial services industry. It found that discrimination had a win rate of only 51.3 percent. This was much lower than nonstatutory cases, which had a win rate of 63.9 percent and statutory nondiscrimination matters, which had a win rate of 64.7 percent.

The author of the study was careful to note that there is no indication of how these cases might have fared in the court system. There is a chance that they would have fared the same. He notes that there are “two pretty bad systems” from which complainants have to choose.

Reasons arbitration is used

Court systems are overloaded with cases, which means that people can wait lengthy times to have their case go before the court. The United States Supreme Court is a driving force behind the rise in arbitration. It views this method as a faster way to get cases resolved; however, arbitration is privatized. This means that wronged employees aren’t going through a public system for resolution of their cases.

When you have an employment dispute of any sort, one of your primary focuses must be determining what options you have. Think of each one and how it can impact the outcome of your case before you decide what you are going to do. Consider the type of case since this seems to play a part in what could unfold.

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