This Is What Happens When You Try to Sue Your Boss

from Bloomberg

The proof that the fight between Alex Beigelman and UBS had descended into absurdity was the dispute over the granola bar. It was the fifth day of arbitration hearings, and a lawyer for UBS, the financial conglomerate where Beigelman had worked, seemed to be having some windpipe trouble. “I tried to eat a Kind bar really quickly,” the bank lawyer said. “And I have all of that granola crunchy stuff stuck in my throat.”

“TMI,” answered Linda Friedman, the civil rights attorney who was representing Beigelman.

“I’m sorry, Linda, if you think that’s too much information,” the bank lawyer replied.

In front of the three arbitrators who would decide the case, Friedman challenged the opposing counsel’s familiarity with snack food. “It’s not,” she said, “a Kind bar.”

More here.

Posted in Careers, Law and tagged , , .

2 Comments

  1. I honestly feel bad for Mr. Beigelman because of the fact that he wasted a lot of his time being stuck in a situation where it carried on for months. That case is being stuck in arbitration with his former company. Companies like UBS like to sneak in something called an arbitration clause into any contract that an employee has to sign before beginning work with any organization.
    I can understand why Mr. Beigelman would be upset with the fact that he can not receive his bonus. What he should have done is gone through the entire agreement word by word to make sure what was contained inside of the contract. Therefore, he can understand what he can and can’t do as laid out in the contract. That is why it is important to read the print because a lot of content is located within the contract and sometimes the most important pieces are hidden inside of the contract. Employees usually skim over the contract and sign it once they first get the contract.
    Considering the fact that Mr. Beigelman was supposed to get a million dollars to what he owed plus a bonus of over five hundred thousand dollars makes this case significant. It took over three years to settle the dispute between him and his former employer, UBS. When someone tries to go to court, the expenses add up quickly and so does the amount of time used. Arbitration is a process that not only resolves disputes quickly, but the costs associated with arbitration are cheap and it is efficient too. A fact that I found interesting is that “60 million Americans, including workers in 2 out of 3 big nonunion companies, are bound by the agreements”. I thought that a lot more Americans would be bounded by their companies with agreements that include an arbitration clause. However, many of the agreements that contain an arbitration clause are for occupations such as bankers, teachers, engineers, etc. I thought that many more Americans all over the country would have to deal with arbitration clauses in their agreements. Those employees should feel lucky to not have to go through a potential court or arbitration hearing that can involve lots of money. Even though workers’ rights are being limited because of the contracts does not mean that a worker should accept the offer. If an employee sees something that they don’t like in the contract, they have the right to try to negotiate or not sign the contract. Potential employees should always read the agreement first before signing.

  2. I remember talking in class about how companies have turned the one innocent arbitration clause into a deadly weapon against those who agree with it. Those who agree with it kind of have to if they want the job in the first place which is seriously unfair. This unfairness correlates with Apples use of the arbitration clause, secretly throwing it into the “users agreement” when buyers set up their new IPhone. These types of clauses sets it up in a way that if you disagree you can not use the product you just spent your tax return or get that job you could so desperately need: ultimately protecting the best interest of said company and/or employer. Making it a double-wammy with the addition of stopping one from suing their boss in court for virtually any reason because they agreed by signing a contract that ensured their position.
    In this article Bloomberg Businessweek article one thing that I found interesting was the fact that about “60 million Americans are bound by the [arbitration] agreements.” When I clicked on the link to the quote above, another article popped up stating how most employers require mandatory arbitration and “30.1 percent also include class action waivers in their procedures—meaning that in addition to losing their right to file a lawsuit on their own behalf, employees also lose the right to address widespread rights violations through collective legal action.” In my honest opinion this is a violation of human rights. This mostly in part to the fact that arbitration gives these companies total acquisition of their employees. This is shown evident with the “#MeToo Movement” which is a movement dedicated to revealing how “forced arbitration has been used to keep sexual harassment complaints quiet.” This quietness coming from the very private arbitration process of settling disputes outside of a court.
    In the case discussed in the article, Beigelman had been going back and forth with UBS Group AG for 3 years over a settlement of a million dollars because the bank at which he worked relieved him of his duty before he could receive his bonus of about $530,00. The process is meant to be long and tedious and 9/10 the person who filed the dispute would probably spend more money on the lawyers and fees than they would win in the settlement, which is a great motivator to not do so. While he did end up winning $400,000 he says what bothered him the most was “getting stuck in a strange world for so long and knowing how many people will have to endure the same.” His lawyer agreed with him so much that she decided to not even charge him any fees going on the say that for some “the system does not work.”

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