So, I asked Mark Askanas, an employment law litigator, partner and litigation manager in the San Francisco office of Jackson Lewis.
"It's an interesting issue" with many questions that employers interested in implementing such a measure must first answer, he
Does the company provide the cars to employees, or does it provide a car allowance such that the car is company property, and the employee should have no expectation of privacy?
"This is easy," says Askanas
, "if it's a company-provided car versus a car the employee owns but receives an allowance for."
"This is a troublesome case, because the person who was supposed to be the gatekeeper for ensuring the agreements to arbitrate were signed was able to avoid having to arbitrate her claims by a sleight of hand," says Mark Askanas, partner and litigation manager in the San Francisco office of Jackson Lewis.
Employers' and HR professionals' takeaway from the case is clear, he
If your agreement to arbitrate specifically requires that employees sign the agreement, it must be signed to be enforceable.
The employer's belief-however reasonable-that an employee signed the agreement will not supplant this requirement."
Employers can take one of two approaches to enforcing signature requirements, according to Askanas
First, the agreement can state that disputes are subject to arbitration, regardless of whether the employee signed the agreement.
Second, employers can implement a system that tracks the actual signatures to the agreement, and does not rely entirely on someone's representation, express or implied, that he
signed the agreement."