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Ross Runkel, editor

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Editor: Ross Runkel, Professor of Law Emeritus. email Ross@LawMemo.Com, Phone 503-399-8028. 

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AK - Court remanded for arbitration, if employer paid arbitration costs.

Gibson v. Nye Frontier Ford (Alaska 04/03/2009)

Gibson sued the employer for overtime compensation under the Alaska Wage and Hour Act (AWHA). The trial court granted the employer's motion to compel arbitration. The Alaska Supreme Court reversed and remanded, giving the employer the option to pay for the arbitration. After finding that the employer could not unilaterally change the arbitration agreement and after severing the unconscionable $50,000.00 appellate threshold provision, the court concluded that requiring Gibson to pay half the costs of arbitration was inconsistent with the AWHA. The court stated the objective of the AWHA was to protect the health, efficiency, and general well-being of workers; and to achieve this end, the AWHA contained provisions that were designed to deter employers from violating the act and to encourage employees to take action to remedy violations. The court opined that imposing substantial forum costs would run counter to the latter strategy.

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