Missouri Business Headlines

Protecting the arbitration process in workplace disputes

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When a dispute arises between a business and an employee, arbitration is a fair, low-cost tool that both sides can use to reach a resolution without turning to the courts. This system helps resolve disputes in an efficient and cost-effective way.

Because of these benefits, many companies ask their employees to sign an agreement that arbitration would be the first course of action if a dispute arises. But Missouri court decisions have started to erode this system. As a result, many of the workplace arbitration agreements that currently exist in Missouri may not be enforceable.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Parkville, is sponsoring Senate Bill 728, which states that in arbitration agreements between an employers and employees, the arbitrator must make all initial decisions rather than the dispute going to the courts.

The Senate Government Reform Committee held a hearing on the proposal on Feb. 11. As he introduced his bill, Sen. Luetkemeyer, a 2019 Missouri Chamber Business Champion, said it would help ensure cases don’t go to court “right out of the chute.”

The Missouri Chamber testified in support.

“This bill brings important clarity to both employers and employees in regard to when arbitration agreements are enforceable and will help ensure that both parties are on equal footing throughout the process,” said Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs.

 

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