When California residents think about arbitration, the words "court involvement" do not typically come to mind. Arbitration is an alternative dispute resolution method, meant to keep cases from being litigated. Recently, though, a case in another state has made headlines as a federal judge is asking for arbitration updates in a wrongful termination case.
A former manager for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel filed a lawsuit against the company after he was terminated in the fall of 2013. He initially started out as a PBX Manager, but that position was later eliminated. He was moved to another department, and after nearly a decade of service, he was written up for poor job performance and fired. The plaintiff believes his age was behind the termination, as the company has allegedly sought to rid itself of older employees. The plaintiff was 53 years old when he was let go.
The lawsuit against Ritz-Carlton was filed in 2017, but the case was suspended because the plaintiff signed an arbitration agreement when he was first hired. Over a year and a half later, this case has yet to be settled, so a judge is now asking for updates on its progress. These updates are reportedly to be supplied every 90 days starting in early July. It is unclear how long the court will wait for a resolution to be reached before stepping in.
Arbitration can serve a valuable purpose by keeping some issues out of court. However, arbitration typically serves the best interests of companies rather than their current or former employees. California residents who believe that they are victims of wrongful termination or various other employment law offenses can turn to legal counsel who will have the ability to help them through the arbitration process or seek to move their cases to court -- if doing so is deemed appropriate.