Recent legal trends on the right to a Jury trial are being significantly hindered through the use and enforceability of Arbitration Agreements. An arbitration agreement is a contract between two parties where they agree to waive their rights to a Jury trial. Florida Courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States are enforcing these types of agreements and justify it by explaining its efficiency of use, the reduction of court cases which in effect expedites the Court process for other cases, and the fact that two parties or entities should be able to bargain and enter into any contract that they want. However, what has been left out of the equation is the overwhelming bargaining power that employers have over employees. In the employment context, in order for an employer to let an employee work for them, the employer makes the signing of the arbitration agreement as a condition of employment or continued employment. Therefore, if an employee wants or needs to work for that employer, the employee has no choice but to sign the agreement and waive his or her rights, including, in many cases, the right to a Jury trial.
The law concerning the validity and enforceability of Arbitration agreements is complex and evolving. There are still valid defenses to them, but they should be addressed and discussed with an experienced attorney who specializes in these matters.
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