Why do employers like arbitration so much? In a bit of a Jerry Maguire moment, Cory J. King, a lawyer with the defense firm of Fine, Boggs & Perkins, LLP, admits that it is because whether an employer wins a case depends almost as much on the forum as it does on the facts, and they tend to win arbitrations, and lose trials. Two of the slides in his presentation entitled "Top Secret! Owners Eyes Only! Dealing with the Entitlement Generation (go to page six of the ppt) boast that "when the judge sits as an arbitrator, statistics show that employer prevails 76% of the time" but "when the jury has a case, statistics show the employers prevail at best 50% of the time." In other words, half of all winning plaintiffs would have lost their case had they gone to arbitration.
Of course, that is never offered as a reason why arbitration agreements should be enforced. If an employee's attorney were to make such a claim in a pleading, 99.9% of defense attorneys would argue that it is not true, or at least unproven. In open court, it has almost become sacrilege to deny that arbitration is every bit as "separate but equal" as a courtroom with a jury.
While arbitration doesn't present nearly the same problems to wage and hour plaintiffs as it presents to other employee plaintiffs, the arbitration fight is always an important one. Does anyone out there know what statistics Mr. King is citing? We'd love to read those studies.
[If the link gets removed, you can check the page here, via google cache.]