Suppose an employee is hired by a firm for a period of one year. After the first year the employee may continue working for the company, until terminated, as an at will employee (For simplicity, let’s assume the contract explicitly contains a starting and ending date so there is no ambiguity as to the expiration of the contract).
The contract also specifies under what circumstances the employee maybe terminated and a specific protocol the company must follow to terminate the employee (for example, giving a certain number of days advance notice). Contract also contains a binding arbitration provision.
Suppose the employee continues working for the firm for another 3 years after the initial one year term ends.
After four years, the firm fires the employee. The employee argues that the company did not follow the termination protocol outlined in the contract and wishes to compel arbitration whereas the firm wishes to litigate the case in court.
The firm argues that it is no longer bound to arbitration since the contract (which contains the arbitration clause) was only binding during the first year and has thus expired.
Although the employee agrees that the contract expired in a general sense he argues that the part of the contract that governs how the employee must be terminated is still governed by the contract. Although the employee acknowledges that the general agreement to arbitrate no longer exists (for example, if the employee sustains an injury on the job after the first year the employee would agree that the firm is not bound to arbitration) since the termination protocol clearly arise from the contract, the employee argues, the firm is still bound to arbitrate this specific dispute.
What case precedent can be applied to this case (especially in NJ)?
Is a firm required to arbitrate disputes arising after a contract expires if the contract specifically contains provisions that govern the phase of the employment after it expires?
Note: The above scenario hypothetical. It is only intended to help illustrate the essence of the question.