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Protecting arbitration in Missouri

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A Missouri Senate committee is considering a bill to help preserve arbitration as a fair, low-cost tool that employers and employees can use to resolve disputes without turning to the courts.

Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer, a Republican from Parkville, is sponsoring Senate bill 154.
During a hearing on the bill, Sen. Luetkemeyer said the bill provides predictability for both employers and employees.

“It ensures quick resolution of disputes so employers are not locked into endless expensive litigation, while at the same time making sure that employees that are legitimately wronged are able to get quick compensation,” he said.

Missouri court decisions have eroded the system of arbitration and as a result, many of the workplace arbitration agreements that currently exist in Missouri may not be enforceable.

Sen. Luetkemeyer’s bill states that in arbitration agreements between an employer and employee that include certain provisions, the arbitrator must make all initial decisions rather than taking the dispute to court. This would help resolve disputes in a more efficient and cost-effective way.

“This bill provides undeniable clarity for when arbitration agreements will be enforceable and the terms that have to be in those agreements to make them valid,” said Matt Panik, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “We feel that both parties will be on equal footing through the arbitration process, making the process fairer. We appreciate Sen. Luetkemeyer for leading on this issue.”

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