Recent Developments

Issues that affect ministers and churches
Arbitration
An Ohio court ruled that an employee was bound by a form she signed when hired agreeing to submit any employment-related dispute to binding arbitration.
Key point 10-16.8. Churches have various defenses available to them if they are sued as a result of a personal injury. One such defense is an arbitration policy. By adopting an arbitration policy, a church can compel members to arbitrate specified disputes with their church rather than pursue their claim in the civil courts.
Negligence as a Basis for Liability

* An Ohio court ruled that an employee was bound by a form she signed when hired agreeing to submit any employment-related dispute to binding arbitration rather than to the civil courts. A young woman (Amy) applied for a position with a fitness center. She completed an employment application containing an acknowledgment with a signature line advising her that the center utilized an employment dispute resolution procedure ("EDRP") to handle work-related disputes. The acknowledgment stated, "The company has established an alternative dispute resolution procedure to resolve disputes arising out of the employment context. I agree to be bound by the terms of the procedure as a condition of employment concerning any disputes or claims covered under the procedure. I understand that I have the right to request and review a copy of the procedure. If you have any questions regarding this statement, please ask a Company representative before signing." Just above the signature line on the application was the following statement, "Do Not Sign Until You Have Read The Above Statement And Agreement." Amy signed the application, but later conceded that she had not read the application in its entirety. She only read what she deemed necessary to complete the information blanks in the application.

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Posted: March 1, 2004
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