The Enforceability of Pre-Dispute Jury Waiver Agreements in Employment Discrimination Cases


Employers are always attempting to find new ways to limit their exposure to employment discrimination claims. Many employers have implemented multi-level alternative dispute resolution procedures which attempt to prevent claims of discrimination from occurring, settle the dispute before it reaches the appropriate judicial system and/or avoid the uncertainty of a jury trial if a claim is ultimately litigated. Throughout the 1990’s mandatory arbitration agreements in employment contracts were the alternative dispute resolution program of choice. There are several drawbacks to mandatory arbitration agreements, however, and as a result employers have continued their quest to find a better method of limiting their financial exposure in jury trials. The newest method utilized by employers to attempt to reduce the risk of excessive jury awards is the jury trial waiver. Jury trial waivers are generally included in a provision of an employment agreement and provide that the right to a jury trial is waived for any claim or cause of action arising under the agreement or out of the employment relationship.
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