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Resolving disputes — Texas

Alternative dispute resolution (ADR) is a procedure, whether formal or informal, for resolving disputes with employees. Even though ADR has been around for decades, many employers have only recently considered implementing formal ADR programs. Arbitration is one type of ADR program for resolving employee grievances. 

For many years, employees with membership in unions have been provided a grievance procedure (typically a form of arbitration) in which to argue their side of a disciplinary action. In addition, employers with union employees have been required, through the terms of the union contract, to have a stair-step disciplinary process (such as oral, then written, then final warnings), as well as “just cause” for termination. When an employer skips steps and goes straight to termination, the employee is often reinstated by the arbitrator and given another chance to improve performance.

Arbitration is a more informal process than a jury trial and generally takes far less time to reach a conclusion. In Texas, an employer can require all of its at-will employees to agree to arbitrate disputes. While it is often better to have a written agreement signed by each employee, in certain situations, courts have upheld arbitration programs set forth in...

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