From JDSupra, John Lewis reviews a recent case in Florida focusing on the enforceability of an arbitration agreement and offers recommendations for arbitration agreements based on this case. John writes:
While the new hotel ownership likely gave rise to some of the uncertainty in the case, the court’s careful analysis of the multiple handbooks and the Acknowledgement is in many respects like “Arbitration Agreements 101.” Here are some of the key takeaways:
- If possible, arbitration agreements should be stand-alone documents, not part of a handbook that states it is not a contract.
- Consider having the arbitration agreements executed manually or electronically by the applicant or employee concerned.
- The arbitration agreement generally should be mutual, covering both parties, and both parties should be entitled to injunctive or equitable relief from courts in support of the arbitral proceeding.
- Consider having key terms of the arbitration agreement, such as those evidencing consent and waiving rights, printed in a bold or larger font.
- Take steps to ensure that individuals not fluent in English can understand the agreement. This may include a non-English version of the agreement, an available translator or allowing the applicant or employee to have additional time to review the agreement.
- Arbitration agreements should state whether they supersede or complement prior agreements or other company documents in the employment arena.
- Arbitration agreements should state whether they can be amended or revised, how that may be done and the impact of any changes on pending claims.
These considerations should lessen any doubts concerning the scope and content of arbitration agreements and should aid enforceability.