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Back to Work — And Read Those Contracts!

Back to Work — And Read Those Contracts!

Posted by Frank Steinberg | Sep 02, 2008 | 0 Comments

We've been "off the air" for a while for reasons that involve changes of ISP's and registration of web addresses.  It's a long and boring story that best concludes with the admonition "don't try this at home." 

So Labor Day has passed, summer is unofficially over, the political season is in full swing, and we all ramp back up to top working speed.

Here's a gentle reminder as you gear back up.  Read those contracts!  Even if you can't read English.  That's the ruling of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in a decision issued on August 28,  Morales v. Sun Constructors, Inc.

The court enforced an arbitration agreement written in English despite the fact that the affected employee did not read or speak English.  Applying traditional principles of contract analysis, the court found ruled that it was the obligation of the employee to do what was necessary to ensure that he understood the document that he was asked to sign.  So here's the lesson for employees: you will be held to the terms of the agreements that you sign, unless the employer is guilty of fraud in inducing you to sign.

The converse is true for employers.  If employees do not have the language skills and ask you to translate the agreement for them, do it thoroughly or you run the risk of having a court refuse to enforce your agreement.

About the Author

Frank Steinberg

Frank is the founder and principal of Steinberg Law, LLC. A Jersey boy born and bred, he focuses on employment litigation and counseling, business litigation,  and aviation law. Following law school and a clerkship in the federal district court Frank spent his early career with large litigation ...


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