“Opinion of Wisconsin District Judge Again Illustrates that Arbitration Is a Creature of Contract”

John Lewis of Baker Hostetler has this article in Lexology, discussing the Wisconsin District Court’s decision in O’Bryan v. Pember Companies, Inc., , in which the court held that a provision in a 48 page employee handbook requiring the submission of all disputes to arbitration was ineffectual due to an employee acknowledgement form on its last page, which provided:

“Unless I have an individual written employment contract, my employment relationship with Pember . . . is at will.***

“I acknowledge that this handbook is neither a contract of employment nor a legal document.”

As Mr. Lewis points out, the decision emphasizes that “[h]aving an arbitration provision in a handbook with a broad contract disclaimer may prevent its enforcement.”

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