I've been with a company for going on 11 years. Recently upper management has turned over and they've changed the "employee handbook". Among other things (what seems to be the most concerning part), is that signing it would waive my right to trial if conflict between me and the company occurs.
Is there a precedent as to whether I need to sign this? Does this require more knowledge of the contracts and thus do I need to show the old and new (very different) handbooks to a lawyer? ...or is this common now and I'm just not aware of it?
Thanks for all your input.
To summarize a couple comments below: Yes, what they want signed is an acknowledgement; at least it starts that way. Within the acknowledgement it states that by signing I must abide the handbook, which is followed by a section (still in the acknowledgement) about "at will" employment. To me that sounds like a contract and the latter part makes it sound much more forceful. Especially considering my initial concern that one of the sections specifically discusses how disagreements that become litigious must be handled--though I'm not thrilled with the "at will" stuff either, but that's a different issue.
Also, yes, it allows for arbitration, which is probably fine. It just seems so arbitrary and ultimately feels wrong to (at least attempt to) remove the possibility for a trial and require something that is likely to happen first anyway.