One blueprint for requiring employees to arbitrate FMLA claims

A NJ court recently held that a business can force an employee to arbitrate FMLA claims — even if the arbitration agreement that the employee signs does not contain a specific FMLA waiver.


How does this all work?

Well, according to the NJ Superior Court in Flores-Galan v. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., N.A., “an agreement to arbitrate statutory anti-discrimination claims must be specific enough to put the employee on notice of the claims encompassed.” However, “an arbitration clause need not specify every conceivable statute that it covers.”

Ultimately, according to the court, an arbitration agreement that forces an employee to forgo litigation of certain employment claims must satisfy two criteria:

    1. It should contain a waiver of rights provision that, at the very least, “provide[s] that the employee agrees to arbitrate all statutory claims arising out of the employment relationship or its termination.


  1. The agreement should also reflect that the employee understands the type of claims included in the waiver, e.g., workplace discrimination claims.

Keep in mind that laws may vary from state to state. Best to contact an employment attorney before having an employee sign any arbitration agreement.

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