In the past 15 years, it has become common for employers to require employees to agree, as a condition of employment, to resolve disputes regarding employment through binding arbitration instead of jury trials. Employees, who typically prefer to submit their claims to a jury of their peers, have responded by challenging the enforceability of mandatory arbitration policies. In response to the employee challenges, state and federal courts have issued a series of decisions defining the terms under which arbitration agreements may be enforceable, and declining to enforce those agreements deemed inherently unfair or one-sided. A new decision issued by the California Court of Appeal last month further clarifies the rules regarding arbitration and calls into question the validity of many existing arbitration agreements and policies utilized by employers.
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