An arbitration agreement that must be accepted as a condition of employment is unconscionable and thus unenforceable if the employee is not only deprived of meaningful choice about whether to accept its terms but those terms are also one-sided, the California Court of Appeal, First Appellate District, held Dec. 10 (Ramirez v. Circuit City Stores Inc., Cal. Ct. App., No. A085701, 12/10/99).

Robert Ramirez III signed the “Circuit City Dispute Resolution Agreement” when he applied for a job with the company as an installer of equipment in automobiles. The agreement required him to settle all claims arising out of his employment through final and binding arbitration and in accordance with Circuit City’s “Dispute Resolution Rules and Procedures.” Ramirez was required to sign the agreement as a condition of being hired.

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