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When you work at Whataburger, it’s important to understand your rights, especially if you get hurt while working at Whataburger.

In the case we’ll discuss here, a Whataburger employee, Yvonne, was injured during her shift. What followed is a crucial lesson for every employee about injury claims and arbitration agreements.

The Injury and Initial Claim

Yvonne was injured when an object struck her head while she was working. Given that Whataburger is a non-subscriber to the Texas worker’s compensation system, she decided to file a lawsuit for her injuries, claiming negligence on the part of Whataburger.

When Yvonne was hired, she was given an employee handbook which included an arbitration policy. This means instead of going to court, any disputes or claims would have to be settled through arbitration—a kind of private dispute resolution outside of the traditional court system. Yvonne had acknowledged this policy by signing a form when she was hired.

Whataburger moved to compel arbitration, meaning they wanted to take the case out of court and into arbitration as agreed in the arbitration policy. Yvonne challenged this by arguing that the arbitration agreement was both unfair (unconscionable) and not binding (illusory)—meaning she believed Whataburger could change the terms whenever they liked.

The trial court initially agreed with Yvonne in part, finding some concerns about the fairness of the arbitration process. However, on appeal, the higher courts needed more information to decide whether the arbitration agreement was indeed unfair or could be changed at Whataburger’s discretion.

Key Issues in the Dispute

  • Procedural Unconscionability: This refers to the fairness in the way the arbitration agreement was presented and agreed to. The courts consider whether the agreement was made in an environment or under circumstances that were unfair to one party—in this case, Yvonne.
  • Substantive Unconscionability: This looks at the content of the arbitration agreement itself to see if it is inherently unfair. For instance, limiting an employee’s ability to pursue certain legal rights.
  • Illusory Contract: This concept addresses whether the agreement was real and binding or if Whataburger had too much power to change it, potentially making it meaningless.

The Current Status and What It Means for You

Currently, the legal battle over Yvonne’s right to bring her injury claim in court instead of arbitration is back in the hands of the lower court. What this means is that the judges are taking a closer look, particularly to decide if the arbitration agreement that Yvonne signed when she started working at Whataburger is actually fair and binding.

Why This Matters to You as a Whataburger Employee

  1. Understanding Your Employment Agreement: This case highlights how crucial it is to understand every part of your employment documents, especially those related to resolving disputes like arbitration agreements. It’s not just about signing where you’re told; it’s about knowing what you are agreeing to.
  2. Fairness of the Process: The lower court is reviewing whether Whataburger has too much control over the arbitration process, such as the ability to change the terms on a whim. If the court finds this to be true, it could mean changes in how disputes are handled in the future, making it fairer for employees like you.
  3. Binding Nature of Agreements: The court is also looking into whether the agreement is illusory—meaning it looks like a valid agreement but might not actually hold up because one party (Whataburger) could change it anytime. This is crucial because it affects whether you can rely on the agreement to protect your rights if you ever need to.

The Bigger Picture

This case isn’t just about one person’s work injury claim; it’s about setting a precedent for how employees at Whataburger and possibly other companies can expect to be treated under the law. It’s about ensuring that when you sign an agreement that it’s both understood clearly by you and fair.

Ultimately, knowing more about how such legal matters are handled can give you greater confidence and preparedness in dealing with workplace issues. Whether it’s a dispute or an injury claim, knowing your rights and the processes in place helps you navigate them more effectively.

What You Should Do If Injured at Work at Whataburger

Every Whataburger employee should be well-informed about the procedures and rights related to injury claims. If you’re injured while on the job at Whataburger, it’s important to know that the company is not a subscriber to the Texas worker’s compensation system. Instead, Whataburger has an arbitration agreement, which is typically outlined in the employee handbook provided upon your hiring.

This agreement stipulates that any disputes, including those related to workplace injuries, should be resolved through arbitration rather than through traditional court proceedings.

If you are injured at Whataburger:

  1. Report the injury to your manager immediately.
  2. Document everything about the incident and your injuries.
  3. Understand your rights regarding the arbitration agreement you signed.
  4. Contact a Whataburger injury attorney specializing in Worker’s Compensation Claims.

Injured at Whataburger? Contact Joe Zaid

Navigating through injury claims and understanding arbitration agreements can be challenging. If you’ve been injured at work at Whataburger and need guidance or think your rights are being compromised, it’s crucial to speak with an expert.

Joe I. Zaid & Associates are here to help. With over 10 years of experience in personal injury law and a deep understanding of workers’ rights, our team is ready to assist you in evaluating your case and ensuring your rights are protected.

Don’t wait, get the help you deserve. Contact us today at our main office in Pasadena on (346) 756-9243, or at our other locations in Humble and Clear Lake. We speak Spanish!

Remember, understanding your rights is the first step towards protecting them.

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Disclaimer: This blog post describes a third-party case and is shared for informational purposes only. The outcomes and details of the case do not involve or reflect the work or results of our firm. For personalized legal advice or assistance, please consult with a qualified attorney.

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