TEENY FARMS EMPLOYEE DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY
Effective Date: May 31, 2018
TEENY FARMS, INC., and its related and affiliated entities (each a “Company”) adopt this Dispute Resolution Policy (“Policy”) to resolve disputes between a Company and its employees (each an “employee” or “you”) through arbitration.
What is Arbitration? Arbitration is a procedure in which you and the Company present legal disputes to a jointly selected arbitrator, instead of to a judge or jury in court. An arbitrator is a neutral, qualified person (a Washington licensed attorney or former judge), who manages the dispute resolution process similar to a judge and issues a binding decision. This Policy requires the Company and each employee to present any legal claims to an arbitrator rather than to a judge or jury in court, and to present the claims individually, not jointly with claims involving other parties. Unlike a court decision, a binding arbitration decision generally cannot be appealed.
You Have a Choice. You do not need to agree to this Policy to work for a Company. If you do not agree to arbitration and want to be able to resolve legal claims with a judge or jury in court, jointly with claims involving other parties, you must complete the attached Opt-Out Form and deliver it to your Company within thirty (30) days (“Opt-Out Period”). You may opt out at any time during the Opt-Out Period even though you signed the attached Acknowledgement Form.
No Penalty for Opting Out. The Company will not take any adverse employment action against you if you opt out. The Company will take reasonable measures to hold any decision to opt out confidential, to the extent possible.
Your Choice to Participate or Opt Out is an Important Decision. You should not rely solely on the information in this Policy to decide whether to opt out. This Policy document cannot fully explain the pros and cons of arbitration. You should carefully consider your decision and consult with your co-workers, your family, and an attorney, if you want. If you have questions for the Company, you may contact [Giuliana Perez] at Giuliana.Medina.Perez@teenyfarms.com or (509)264-9615.
IF YOU DO NOT OPT OUT, THIS POLICY WILL BE A LEGAL AGREEMENT THAT APPLIES TO YOU AS FOLLOWS:
What to do if a Dispute Arises. You should promptly raise work-related concerns with your supervisor, Human Resources, or another trusted member of the Company management for informal resolution. To the extent a legal dispute arises between you and a Company (or any of its representatives, agents, or employees), at any time during or after your employment, and that dispute is not resolved informally and is a Covered Claim (defined below), the Company and you agree that such Covered Claims may only be resolved through binding arbitration, and the party seeking resolution of the Covered Claim will present the Covered Claim for binding arbitration.
Covered Claims. A “Covered Claim” is any legal dispute arising out of your employment with a Company or the termination of that employment, including any state or federal statutory or civil rights claim, or common law claim, or any claim relating to this Policy, unless specifically excluded below, that in the absence of this Policy, you or a Company could present to a judge or jury to resolve in court.
Excluded Claims. This Policy does not limit your right to file a claim with a governmental agency, such as the National Labor Relations Board, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Washington State Human Rights Commission, or the United States Department of Labor, to participate in any investigation by a governmental agency, or to file a claim for workers’ compensation or unemployment benefits.
Presenting a Covered Claim for Arbitration. Either you or a Company may present a Covered Claim for arbitration by delivering a written statement to the other, following the Notice requirements below. The statement must describe the nature of the controversy, including a statement of the facts upon which it is based, and the remedy sought. The statement must be delivered to the other party within the same time period that would apply by law to the filing of a Covered Claim in court. Upon receipt of such a statement, the parties agree to select an arbitrator within a reasonable period of time following the procedures below. You do not need to hire an attorney, but you may. As arbitration resolves legal claims, the Company will likely be represented by an attorney.
This Policy prohibits you from participating in any current or future class, collective, or representative proceeding against a Company brought by someone else.
You and the Company Expressly Waive the Following Rights to the extent permitted by law:
to have any Covered Claim decided by a judge or jury in court;
to bring a Covered Claim against the other party as a class representative or as a member in a class, collective, or representative proceeding; and
to participate in or receive money or any other relief from any class, collective, or representative proceeding with respect to a Covered Claim.
Arbitration Procedures. You and the Company agree that the Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S. Code, Chapter 1) will govern any arbitration under this Policy using the procedural rules of the Washington Uniform Arbitration Act (the “Act”) (RCW 7.04A et seq). This Policy requires you and the Company to jointly select one arbitrator, who will be an attorney licensed in Washington or a retired federal or state court judge. The arbitrator’s decision will be final and binding. If the parties cannot agree on an arbitrator, the Seattle office of the American Arbitration Association shall appoint the arbitrator. The arbitrator is authorized to rule on what may be arbitrated and on any objection to the existence, scope, or validity of this Policy. This Policy prohibits a court from ordering consolidation of separate claims or arbitration proceedings. The arbitration will be conducted in English.
Who Pays the Costs? The Company is required to pay all of the arbitrator’s fees and costs, and the costs of administering the arbitration, including the cost of a mutually agreed interpreter for the arbitration hearing, if needed. The parties each shall pay their own legal fees and administrative costs associated with presenting their case, such as photocopying and producing evidence, but the arbitrator is authorized to require a party to reimburse the other for such fees and expenses on the same basis that a judge may apply to a lawsuit filed in court. The arbitrator is required by law to remain neutral, even though the Company pays his/her fees.
Notice. Except for a decision to opt out, which may be emailed as described in the Opt-Out Form, all notices or correspondence between you and the Company relating to this Policy must be personally delivered, or delivered by U.S. Mail, postage prepaid. Any notice delivered by U.S. Mail will be deemed delivered when postmarked. Any notice personally delivered will be deemed delivered upon receipt. The Company will use your address on file with Human Resources. You should direct any notice to the Company to:
Teeny Farms, Inc.
PO Box 2829
Chelan, WA 98816
Governing Law. This Policy shall be enforced in accordance with the Federal Arbitration Act. Washington law or the applicable federal law that would be applied by a United States District Court in Washington shall apply to the arbitration of Covered Claims under this Policy.
Venue. Any arbitration pursuant to this Policy shall be held in Chelan County, Washington. Any action to obtain a judgment enforcing an arbitration award shall be brought in a Washington State Superior Court.
Severability. If any provision of this Policy is determined to be invalid or unenforceable, that provision shall be severed and the remainder of the Policy shall remain in full force and effect; provided, however, if the mutual waiver of class, collective, and representative claims in this Policy is determined to be invalid or unenforceable, any Covered Claim brought on a class, collective, or representative basis must be filed in a court of competent jurisdiction and not arbitrated.
Prior Policies and Agreements. This Policy supersedes any prior employee dispute resolution policies and any related agreements between you and the Company.
TEENY FARMS EMPLOYEE DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY
I acknowledge that:
I have received a copy of the TEENY FARMS EMPLOYEE DISPUTE RESOLUTION POLICY (the “Policy”), effective May 31, 2018.
A Company representative is available to answer any questions that I may have about the Policy, and I can have an attorney of my choice review it at my expense.
I have a choice. I do not need to agree to the Policy to work for the Company. I can opt out of the Policy by signing and delivering the attached Opt-Out Form to the Company within 30 days (“Opt-Out Period”). I can opt out at any time during the Opt-Out Period even though I sign this Acknowledgement.
The Company will not take any adverse employment action against me as a result of my decision to opt out of the Policy.
The Policy requires that any “Covered Claim” be arbitrated instead of resolved by a judge or jury in court. A “Covered Claim” is any legal dispute arising out of my employment relationship with a Company or the termination of that relationship, including any state or federal statutory or civil rights claim, or common law claim, or any claim relating to the Policy, unless specifically excluded by the Policy, that in the absence of the Policy, I or a Company could present to a judge or jury to resolve in court.
unless I choose to opt out as described above, I agree to participate in the Policy and I knowingly and expressly waive the right: (1) to have any “Covered Claim” decided by a judge or jury in court; (2) to bring a Covered Claim against the Company as a class representative or a member in a class, collective, or representative proceeding; and (3) to participate in or receive money or any other relief from any class, collective, or representative proceeding with respect to a Covered Claim.
The above waivers do not prohibit me from filing a claim with or participating in a governmental investigation, including an unfair labor practice claim with the National Labor Relations Board.
Nothing in the Policy changes the “at will” nature of my employment, which means that either I or the Company may terminate my employment at any time, with or without reason or notice.
I am responsible for reading and understanding the Policy. Unless I choose to opt out of participation, I am entering a legal agreement with the Company to comply with the Policy.