When entering into an employment contract, it is common for employers to include clauses that waive the employee`s right to a jury trial in the event of a dispute. This clause is often referred to as a „jury waiver“ or „jury trial waiver.“
The purpose of a jury waiver is to avoid the uncertainty and expense of a jury trial. Instead of a jury determining the outcome of a dispute, the matter is resolved by a judge or an arbitrator. This approach is generally faster and less expensive than a jury trial.
While the benefits of a jury waiver are evident, it is important to understand its potential drawbacks. One of the most significant concerns is that a judge or arbitrator may not be as impartial as a jury. Judges and arbitrators are professionals trained in the law, but their decisions are influenced by their personal experiences and biases, which can color their judgment.
Another potential concern is that waiving the right to a jury trial may limit the amount of damages that an employee can recover. Juries are known for their willingness to award large damages, and if an employee waives the right to a jury trial, then they may be limited to the damages that a judge or arbitrator is willing to award.
If you are considering signing an employment contract that includes a jury waiver clause, it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney. A lawyer can help you understand the potential pitfalls of such a clause and whether it is in your best interest to waive your right to a jury trial.
It is also important to consider alternative dispute resolution methods, such as mediation or arbitration. These methods can provide a faster and less expensive way to resolve disputes without waiving your right to a jury trial. A skilled attorney can help you negotiate these alternative dispute resolution methods into your employment contract.
In conclusion, a jury waiver clause in an employment contract can have both advantages and disadvantages. It is essential to carefully consider the potential risks and benefits of such a clause before signing an employment contract. If in doubt, seek the guidance of a qualified attorney who can help you make an informed decision.