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Senate passes bill to revive Missouri’s employment arbitration system

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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. Given this benefit, it’s a common practice for companies to ask their employees to sign agreements that ensure arbitration would be the first option should a dispute arise.

However, a series of court rulings in Missouri has eroded the state’s arbitration system, causing uncertainty and expense for all sides in employment disputes. A series of court decisions has created a growing legal precedent in Missouri that makes it easier for attorneys to sidestep arbitration agreements and take disputes directly to the courts. This is a problem for Missouri employers, who now have less certainty about potential legal expenses should a dispute arise. In many cases, the weak arbitration system in Missouri is also disadvantageous for plaintiffs, as taking employment disputes through Missouri’s court system can result in hefty legal fees and long delays.

To help solve this problem, the Missouri Senate has approved Senate Bill 45. The bill would clarify Missouri’s arbitration statutes and ensure that signed arbitration agreements are honored. The bill is sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, a Republican from Farmington.

“It’s no secret that litigating workplace disputes in Missouri’s court system can be a costly and drawn-out process. For everyone involved, it’s advantageous to rely on arbitration. Senate Bill 45 will help revive arbitration as a viable and reliable method for resolving workplace disputes,” said Brian Bunten, general counsel and director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “I’d like to thank Sen. Romine for his continued leadership on this issue. With the Senate vote today, there is reason for optimism about this bill becoming law alongside a number of important reforms to help improve Missouri’s legal climate.”

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