Vance Burton case is not unique in his concern about his employer serving him with a breach of the non-compete agreement and utilizing the arbitration process. Most employers are now requiring and/or mandating employees to execute all company documents electronically, to streamline their practices. “The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign), and the Uniform Electronic Transaction (UETA) mandates equality between paper and electronic contract(s). The basic legal rules that govern contracts offline, are the very same rules that govern online contracts” (Twomey & Jenning. 2017. p. 216). In the state of Maryland statue § 21-104, the Use of Electronic Records and Electronic Signature; Variation by Agreement has been enacted and states:
“(b) Transactions between parties. (1) This title applies only to transactions between parties, each of which has agreed to conduct transactions by electronic means. (2) Whether the parties have agreed to conduct a transaction by electronic means is determined from the context and surrounding circumstances, including the parties ' conduct. (3) Except for a separate and optional agreement the primary purpose of which is to authorize a transaction to be conducted by electronic means, a provision to conduct a transaction electronically may not be contained in a standard form contract unless that provision is conspicuously displayed and separately consented to.”
Western State Technology College (WSTC) upon hiring Professor Vance Burton in 2010 provided a copy of the WSTC non-compete agreement via the employee handbook, which may not be considered a binding contract, if not stipulated in the handbook, with an additional di...
... middle of paper ...
...ess of execution for their employees. Under the Restatement (Second) of Contracts §1 (1981), Section §175 “(1) If a party 's manifestation of assent is induced by an improper threat by the other party that leaves the victim no reasonable alternative, the contract is voidable by the victim. (2) If a party 's manifestation of assent is induced by one who is not a party to the transaction, the contract is voidable by the victim unless the other party to the transaction in good faith and without reason to know of the duress either gives value or relies materially on the transaction.” WSTC used its power to intimidate, alienate, and modify terms of employment, by pressuring employees into signing a mandatory arbitration. It clearly was noted that should the employee not acknowledge and sign the agreement, their “consideration of employment” might end in loss of a job.
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