Does your employee handbook cover dispute resolutions? For employers, the preferable method is to have the single choice of solely arbitration as the remedial device. Arbitration keeps the cost down, compared to civil litigation and can be handled with or without the use of an attorney. One issue that is constantly in dispute is how broad can the arbitration clause be?

Employers would like it to encompass every employee dispute. Government agencies, however, frown upon this. Recently, the issue has received a lot of attention in the news and press. And the battle continues. The NLRB (National Labor Relations Board) and the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals continue to disagree on the issue of an employer requiring its employees to sign an agreement that would resolve all employment-related claims through arbitration.

In a recent decision, Murphy Oil vs. NLRB, the Fifth Circuit followed its earlier decision in the D. R. Horton Case and concluded that, contrary to the NLRB finding, it is not an unfair labor practice for an employer to require that employees relinquish their rights or collective claims in all forms by signing an arbitration agreement.

The NLRB, not withstanding the “Horton” decision, found contrary in “Murphy”. The 5th Circuit Court again disagreed. One caveat such as arbitration language should be careful not to overreach and preclude the use of the NLRB for the claims and remedies that it provides.

If you don’t have an employee handbook or you are in the process of reviewing one, contact Stephen. Koppekin Consulting will help you navigate the process from start to finish.