PaineWebber Caves on Mandatory Arbitration

PaineWebber has taken a step in the direction of Merrill Lynch by allowing discrimination and harassment claims filed after Jan. 1, 1999, to be resolved in court or an independent arbitration forum. However, all other employment disputes will continue to go to arbitration.The second option is to go to the new Issue Resolution Office, run by PaineWebber's human resources department, which will help

PaineWebber has taken a step in the direction of Merrill Lynch by allowing discrimination and harassment claims filed after Jan. 1, 1999, to be resolved in court or an independent arbitration forum. However, all other employment disputes will continue to go to arbitration.

The second option is to go to the new Issue Resolution Office, run by PaineWebber's human resources department, which will help employees understand their options when they have a complaint. Thirdly, PaineWebber will pay for a mediator to resolve the dispute, the costs for which will vary on a case-by-case basis, according to a PaineWebber spokesperson.

For registered employees, there's a fourth alternative for resolving statutory discrimination or harassment claims: an independent arbitration forum or court. Brokers will be able to choose an independent mediator or arbitration forum, but the firm has to agree on the choice.

The new program "is designed to give employees more options for resolving work-related disputes ... by providing easily accessible, flexible and constructive means for resolving disputes," the firm says in a statement.

PaineWebber's new policy is similar to Merrill's, which went into effect July 1, 1998. However, Merrill allows all employee disputes to go to any of these four different arbitration forums: NASD, NYSE, the American Arbitration Association or JAMS/Endispute. Like PaineWebber, Merrill also allows registered reps the option to take discrimination and harassment claims to court.

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