Arbitration in its simplest form is a process in which a dispute between two or more parties is resolved in a final and binding way by an independent third party. Arbitration takes place when parties to a dispute (usually involving differences over the interpretation of a written contract) agree to submit the matter to an arbitrator. The agreement to arbitrate may contain rules that state the nature and limits of the arbitrator’s power. Arbitration is usually thought to be an alternative to more expensive and time consuming litigation in court.

In the employment context, arbitration typically involves (1) claims pursuant to a collective bargaining agreement, (2) an employer’s employment policy providing for arbitration, or (3) an agreement made between the parties after a dispute or claim has arisen that otherwise would be pursued in court or through a government agency.

Below is a list of some general concepts about arbitration in the employment context.  The Glossary defines basic terms, while the Other FAQ’s address broader issues.