Should I agree to binding arbitration?

Posted

The Northern CA facility I recently accepted a job at uses binding arbitration by default. I have the option to opt out of this and it says that I will not lose my job because of it. I am concerned that this statement is window dressing for what may be company practice. Since I will start per diem they could always just not schedule me. It seems like if this is the case, I would not get a straight answer from HR.

Has anyone else had the experience of opting out of binding arbitration? How has it gone?

Thanks!

It wouldn't let me edit, I wanted to add this between the first and second paragraph:

As a former union employee and educated person binding arbitration seems like a trap to limit my rights and compromise my ability to advocate for clients. Employers pay arbitration companies and, if they don't like the way they make decisions, they can always hire a new one. This is a major conflict of interest.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

Anecdotally, every decision I've heard about from binding arbitration has been in favor of the employer, I.e. the customer of the person/company providing the arbitration...

chare

3,691 Posts

50 minutes ago, psych nurse in training said:

[...]

As a former union employee and educated person binding arbitration seems like a trap to limit my rights and compromise my ability to advocate for clients. ...

How so?

ETA: I am aware of the potential advantage an employer has with arbitration.  I am more interested in how you see this as compromising your ability to advocate for your patient.

@chare If disputes regarding the employer are routinely decided in their favor, you're forced into a their way or the highway situation, more than normal jobs. I would like to hear from people who may know about how this actually plays out, but I picture it like this:

RN is given unsafe assignment. Knowing this is unsafe, they report it to the employer and refuse to accept. RN is summarily fired. In the ensuing wrongful firing arbitration they side with the employer and against RN.

RN2 sees what happens with RN. Knowing the likely outcome, they are now faced with the decision to either likely get fired or try to make it work. In the ideal world they always reject the assignment, but that is not where we live.

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

3 hours ago, psych nurse in training said:

@chare If disputes regarding the employer are routinely decided in their favor, you're forced into a their way or the highway situation, more than normal jobs. I would like to hear from people who may know about how this actually plays out, but I picture it like this:

RN is given unsafe assignment. Knowing this is unsafe, they report it to the employer and refuse to accept. RN is summarily fired. In the ensuing wrongful firing arbitration they side with the employer and against RN.

RN2 sees what happens with RN. Knowing the likely outcome, they are now faced with the decision to either likely get fired or try to make it work. In the ideal world they always reject the assignment, but that is not where we live.

I'm not sure you're going down the "right path" with this. In a case where you're being given assignments so unsafe that you refuse them, why would you be fighting to keep the job instead of quitting? If they're not breaking any laws, I'm not sure you could successfully sue them because you didn't like your assignment and got fired for refusing to work.

It probably has more to do with things like being "unofficially" expected to answer your work phone during lunch breaks ...or being required to clock out for lunch breaks, regardless of whether you have time to actually take them. 

I know of at least one lawsuit where a hospital was sued and had to back pay the entire staff for something like that.

@Sour Lemon Maybe that's a better example, thanks. With binding arbitration you are expected to go through arbitration rather than lawsuit or class action lawsuit.

Regarding unsafe assignment, I think this is more common that people think. I started asking questions about staffing ratios during my preceptorship and the nurses didn't seem to know they were understaffed. Is it a problem always? Maybe not. Is it set up to create problems? Seems so....

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

59 minutes ago, psych nurse in training said:

@Sour Lemon Maybe that's a better example, thanks. With binding arbitration you are expected to go through arbitration rather than lawsuit or class action lawsuit.

Regarding unsafe assignment, I think this is more common that people think. I started asking questions about staffing ratios during my preceptorship and the nurses didn't seem to know they were understaffed. Is it a problem always? Maybe not. Is it set up to create problems? Seems so....

High acuity and high ratios are definitely common issues. I just don't see how a lack of required arbitration would be useful for those types of circumstances.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 20 years experience. 4 Articles; 4,643 Posts

7 hours ago, psych nurse in training said:

Regarding unsafe assignment, I think this is more common that people think. I started asking questions about staffing ratios during my preceptorship and the nurses didn't seem to know they were understaffed. Is it a problem always? Maybe not. Is it set up to create problems? Seems so....

Except in California and New Jersey who have state mandated nurse to patient ratios. Most hospital bean counters are allowed to set ratios at a number THEY think in safe. So lobbying the hospital administration for change is almost usesless. The sister hospital to our facility has a class action lawsuit for missed breaks that has been grinding through the court system for 10 years now.

The way to effect change in your staffing is to lobby you state legislature for chane as nurses in California and New Jersey did. Rabble rousing at the hospital level will only mark you as a trouble-maker. 

Hppy

NurseSpeedy, ADN, LPN, RN

Has 20 years experience. 1,599 Posts

On 10/3/2020 at 8:22 PM, psych nurse in training said:

@chare If disputes regarding the employer are routinely decided in their favor, you're forced into a their way or the highway situation, more than normal jobs. I would like to hear from people who may know about how this actually plays out, but I picture it like this:

RN is given unsafe assignment. Knowing this is unsafe, they report it to the employer and refuse to accept. RN is summarily fired. In the ensuing wrongful firing arbitration they side with the employer and against RN.

RN2 sees what happens with RN. Knowing the likely outcome, they are now faced with the decision to either likely get fired or try to make it work. In the ideal world they always reject the assignment, but that is not where we live.

This may vary from state to state-but I live in a right to work state-meaning I can quit whenever I want and they can fire me whenever they want-no reason needed-now- if no reason I could still get unemployment-but by no way would I ever get anywhere in court-from what I’ve heard about arbitration is that it tends to favor the employee-agreeing to it the employee cannot get very far in a court-but where I’m from the employer has always had the upper hand and the employee stuck with fighting for unemployment-proving their loss of income was no fault of their own OR no unemployment benefits. Being per diem and not PT/FT staff/there is zero guarantee for hours to begin with. If they need you and like you then they will cancel another per diem first- but business is business-if census is low you will be cut-regardless of the arbitration clause. Per diem employee’s have no guarantee of hours and no unemployment benefits.

Sour Lemon

Has 12 years experience. 5,016 Posts

1 hour ago, NurseSpeedy said:

This may vary from state to state-but I live in a right to work state-meaning I can quit whenever I want and they can fire me whenever they want-no reason needed

I think that actually describes "employment at will".

"Right to work" means you won't be shut out for declining to join a union.

Jedrnurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in school nurse. Has 30 years experience. 2,776 Posts

1 hour ago, Sour Lemon said:

I think that actually describes "employment at will".

"Right to work" means you won't be shut out for declining to join a union.

Thanks for pointing this out! This and "HIPAA" are both strong candidates for the #1 misstated thing on AN posts. ?