When to Use an Arbitrator for Your Business Employment Agreement

Use an arbitrator when you cherish your relationship with your employer and do not want technical issues to put it in jeopardy. As long as you sift through local, quality law firms, like the Snyder Litigation Team, and select a reputable arbitrator, chances are the outcome will be a positive one for both you and your employer.

In most cases, parties in a dispute resort to arbitration when they have reached a stalemate in negotiations, and they no longer care about the quality of their relationship with the people on the other side of the bargaining table. In those cases, a satisfactory arbitration agreement ends both the conflict and the relationship.

However, enlisting an arbitrator’s services to resolve a pre-employment dispute serves exactly the opposite purpose: The arbitrator reconciles delicate issues so that employer and employee can focus all their time and attention on healthy, productive collaboration, instead of bickering back and forth.

A Few Common Cases

In the resolution of common pre-employment conflicts, the importance of matching the arbitrator’s special expertise to the specific issues in the parties’ disputes cannot be overstated. The more complex your issues, the more you need a “client-centered” arbitrator who will subordinate strictly legal concerns to your personal interests.

In order to assure harmonious and productive working relationships, appropriately qualified arbitrators often reconcile….

– Non-traditional terms and conditions of employment: Old-school businessmen and post-modern creative types do not always agree on how, when, and where people do their best work. The traditional boss believes in old-fashioned 9-to-5 work hours and ethics, but the creative thinker has “a virtual office” and works when inspiration strikes.

They also disagree on critical steps and benchmarks in creative processes. The traditionalist wants to enforce daily production standards; the post-modernist tries to explain, “It happens when it happens.” An arbitrator with experience in this kind of dispute can establish reasonable performance standards that allow the entrepreneur plenty of latitudes even as they guarantee timely completion of the boss’s project. Most importantly, the arbitrator may arrange a reasonable schedule of benchmark deadlines and payments.

– Intellectual property issues: Graphic artists, engineers, writers and other professionals who specialize in “making something from nothing” normally understand that work done for hire belongs to their employers; they consent to the arrangement as they accept their jobs..

In some cases, however, the work is so sophisticated, innovative, and potentially profitable that the worker feels unwilling to “give it away.” An arbitrator specializing in intellectual property disputes can work out an agreement that distributes both risk and reward equally between employer and employee.

– Compensation issues: Many start-up technology companies offer stock options instead of competitive salaries so that key employees may share the rewards of the new company’s rise to market prominence..

The true value of those shares may be subject to intense dispute because it depends on accurate forecasts of the enterprise’s growth potential and more technical calculation according to “the future value of money.” An arbitrator specializing in financial disputes can draw-up an agreement based on reasonable expectations for products and profits..

– Job security and severance concerns. In some cases, troubled companies will import high-powered executives to rescue them from imminent disaster. Whereas these executives understand they serve “at the pleasure of” the companies’ directors and they incur substantial risk of failure as they accept their missions. Nevertheless they demand some protection against the consequences of failure..

In other words, they seek “golden parachutes.” An arbitrator with experience in mergers and acquisitions can provide protection for both the struggling company and the would-be rescuer.

The process continues until the parties are satisfied..

Of course, as attorneys frequently say, an arbitrator’s services “include but are not limited to” resolution of these common and often complicated issues. If you and your prospective employer reach an impasse on any significant issue, an arbitrator can resolve it to your mutual satisfaction and benefit. Especially note that arbitration continues until the parties feel satisfied.

Although the parties’ preliminary agreement to arbitration clearly declares that the arbitrator’s findings are binding, nevertheless the Revised Uniform Arbitration Act protects the parties’ rights to review and renegotiate critical points of contention. Both the arbitrator and the parties must remember their dedication to reaching an equitable, workable and enforceable settlement.

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