Comparison of outcomes of employment arbitration and litigation

Mandatory employment arbitration (Colvin) Federal court employment discrimination (Eisenberg and Hill) State court non-civil rights (Eisenberg and Hill)
Mean time to trial (days) 361.5 709 723
Employee trial win rate 21.40%
Median damages $36,500 $176,426 $85,560
Mean damages $109,858 $394,223 $575,453
Mean including zeros $23,548 $143,497 $328,008

Note: All damage amounts are converted to 2005 dollar amounts to facilitate comparison.

Source: The “Colvin” dataset draws on all employment arbitration cases based on employer-promulgated procedures administered by the American Arbitration Association from January 1, 2003, to December 31, 2007. Data are assembled by Colvin from reports filed by the AAA under California Code arbitration service provider reporting requirements. Alexander J.S. Colvin, “An Empirical Study of Employment Arbitration: Case Outcomes and Processes.” Journal of Empirical Legal Studies 8(1): 1–23 at 5 (2011). The “Eisenberg and Hill” litigation statistics are reported in Eisenberg, Theodore, and Elizabeth Hill “Arbitration and Litigation of Employment Claims: An Empirical Comparison.” Dispute Resolution Journal 58(4): 44–55 (2003).

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