The Ministry’s position on arbitration clauses included in statements of employment

 The Ministry’s position on arbitration clauses included in statements of employment

The Minister of Economy and Labour, Jason P. Hayward, JP, MP, advises that the Ministry has received complaints from employees pertaining to arbitration clauses being included in their statement of employment and employers insisting on settling all matters, including possible breaches of the Employment Act 2000 by the employer, through arbitration.

“All employees have the right to file a complaint with an Inspector within the Labour Relations Section regarding any alleged breach of Bermuda’s Employment and Labour Code,” said Minister Hayward. “If an alleged breach is not resolved it may be referred to the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal for determination.

“Due to the lack of knowledge of the legislation governing employment law and arbitrations in Bermuda and the lack of money to fund the arbitration process, many employees feel that they have no access to justice and the redress they critically need.

“Employers who have included arbitration clauses in their statements of employment and have advised their employees that they have no recourse other than through arbitration should cease this practice immediately.”

While the Ministry’s overall position is that all employees have the right to file a complaint with the Labour Relations Section, the Ministry is looking at what legislative or policy changes might be utilized to protect vulnerable workers from being disadvantaged by the inclusion of arbitration clauses in their contracts of employment.

If employees have questions concerning their statement of employment as it pertains to arbitration clauses, they should contact the Labour Relations Section.

The Labour Relations Section is located at 23 Parliament Street, Hamilton, in the old Magistrates’ Court building. The Labour Relations Section is open from Monday to Friday between 8:45 am and 5:00 pm and can be reached via phone on 297-7716 or by email at sstephens@gov.bm. Additionally, employment violations may be reported at bit.ly/employerviolations .

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Trevor Lindsay

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