How can employers ensure that the business's mandatory arbitration program is enforceable?

Author: Michael C. Jacobson, XpertHR Legal Editor

The question of whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable is often one for the courts, so it's important to ensure mandatory arbitration programs are enforceable to avoid litigation on that issue. The key word to remember here is "fairness." Employers must be fair in both crafting and enforcing arbitration programs and not undermine the employee's rights. First and foremost, arbitration programs must be entered into "knowingly and voluntarily." Second, the program must be fair in the way arbitrators are selected to ensure no bias in favor of the employer. Finally, the process of arbitration should not be unduly burdensome to the employee which could discourage or disrupt arbitration altogether. Employers must be candid about the rules and procedures of their arbitration programs and must not make cumbersome, unreasonable demands of employees.