Employment arbitration agreements that trump federal punitive damages limits or shift arbitration costs to plaintiffs may have a tough time surviving, depending on which circuit has jurisdiction over the dispute.

Circuits have split over the validity of arbitration agreements that violate public policy by foreclosing statutory remedies, such as punitive damages or attorney fees, under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. This raises the specter of national companies with employment arbitration terms valid in some parts of the United States but invalid in others.