Forced arbitration denies America’s workers access to our nation’s civil justice system by requiring them to give up their rights to resolve their claims in court and shields employers from public accountability for violating workers’ employment and civil rights.
The prevalence of forced arbitration of workplace claims is a result of U.S. Supreme Court decisions that have expanded the reach of the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) in ways not intended by Congress when it passed the FAA in 1925. The FAA was never supposed to apply to the employment relationship, where workers do not have equal bargaining power with their employers.
The exact number of workers who are affected by forced arbitration is impossible to determine because forced arbitration proceedings occur in secret, are not a matter of public record, and frequently do not permit appeals.
“Workers Beware” is intended to provide information about employers that impose forced arbitration on their employees for the benefit of advocates, researchers, policymakers, and—most of all—workers.
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Personal trainer Terrance L. Burton filed a lawsuit against 24 Hour Fitness in December 2007, alleging that the company failed to pay him wages he was owed under the California Labor Code. In November 2010, 24 Hour Fitness sought to force Mr. Burton into arbitration, despite the fact that the company stated earlier in the case that it would not seek to enforce the arbitration clause he was required to sign when he joined the company. (Burton v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., (Cal. Ct. App., Jan. 18, 2012)).
Robert Winston and Allan Wheeler worked as firearms instructors for Academi in Afghanistan, as part of a contract the company held with the U.S. State Department. After being fired, the men filed suit under the False Claims Act, alleging that the company terminated them in retaliation for reporting that Academi was inserting false numbers into firearms re-certification records submitted to State Department officials. Academi sought to force the claim into arbitration under the terms of its independent contractor agreement, but a federal district court judge held that the arbitration clause was unconscionable. Winston, et al. v. Academi Training Center, Inc., No. 1:2012cv00767 (E.D. Va. Mar. 13, 2013).
When Linda Guyden sought to enforce the whistleblower protections found in the Sarbanes-Oxley Act against her former employer, Aetna drove her claim into secret arbitration proceedings. Guyden v. Aetna Inc., No. 06-4954-cv (2d Cir. Oct. 2, 2008).
In 2016, Lori Stover-Davis filed a claim alleging that Aetna both failed to accommodate her disability and then fired her in retaliation for her complaining about it. The company succeeded in compelling arbitration based on the fine print they inserted into Aetna’s employee handbook. Stover-Davis v. Aetna Life Ins., No. 1:15-cv-1938-BAM, (E.D. Cal. May 12, 2016).
When all the older employees working at AIG’s Puerto Rico facility were fired, Judy Garcia-Clara believed it was because of age discrimination. Yet when Ms. Garcia-Clara tried enforcing her rights under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act after being let go in 2014, Judy’s claim was forced into arbitration under the company’s Dispute Resolution Policy.
After Ruth Kay was seriously injured on the job at a Texas Albertson’s, she and her husband sued for negligence and loss of consortium. The company sought to deny Mrs. Kay her day in court based on an arbitration clause in their Workplace Injury Benefit Plan, and to bind Mr. Kay to the policy as well. After fighting in court, Mr. Kay successfully preserved his 7th Amendment rights. Unfortunately, Ms. Kay’s claims of negligence were redirected out of public view. Albertson’s Holdings, LLC v. Kay
In Coomes v. Allstate Insurance Company, the company acknowledged that as a condition of work, Allstate demands its agents must sign a Registered Representative agreement which requires any controversy with Allstate be resolved in arbitration.
Bernadean Rittman and similarly situated workers filed a class action lawsuit against Amazon alleging, among other things, Amazon misclassified them as independent contractors. The workers argued they are employees entitled to overtime wages. Amazon alleged class members signed arbitration clauses that waived their right to join class actions. The workers argued this class ban is illegal under the National Labor Relations Act. The court stayed proceedings; however, the Supreme Court has ruled these bans are not illegal under the FAA. Rittman v. Amazon.com, Inc.
According to an article in The New York Times, American Apparel “required that all employees sign agreements requiring them to arbitrate any disputes, including sexual harassment claims.” (Steven Davidoff Solomon, Arbitration Clauses Let American Apparel Hide Misconduct, N.Y. Times (Jul. 15, 2014).
Angela Maestre worked for American Express for more than four years. According to a complaint filed in a Florida state court, over the course of her tenure with the company, Ms. Maestre experienced disability discrimination, retaliation, and wage theft. However, the merits of Ms. Maestre’s claim never reached an open courtroom. Upon being served notice of the lawsuit, American Express successfully moved to compel arbitration based on the forced arbitration policy it enshrined in its new hire employment documents.
When a group of employees filed a class action lawsuit seeking overtime pay they had been denied, Amerisave used a forced arbitration clause not only to prevent the plaintiffs from going to court, but also to keep them from joining their claims together. Zulauf v. Amerisave Mortg. Corp., 911 F. Supp. 2d 1266 (N.D. Ga. 2012).
After Alisha Marzette and Kathy Dunmire filed a lawsuit alleging employment discrimination against their employer Anheuser-Busch, the company tried to prevent them from bringing their claims in court based on a forced arbitration clause contained in an employment application. (Marzette, et al. v. Anheuser Busch, Inc., et al., Case No. ED97160, (Mo. Ct. App., Apr. 17 2012)).
Sheri Goldin worked for Anthem Blue Cross for nearly 20 years. Allegedly, throughout her employment, Ms. Goldin never received breaks or earned overtime. Anthem required Ms. Golding to illegally alter her timesheets. When Ms. Goldin finally asked for her overtime, Anthem retaliated, using her inability to compete impossible tasks as a pretext for termination. Ms. Goldin sued. Unfortunately, because Anthem forced the case into secret arbitration, Ms. Goldin’s wage theft claims were never heard in a public court of law.
Margot Roosevelt of the Orange County Register reported that Applied Medical Resources distributed a letter to its employees in December of 2014 instructing them that in order to be eligible for a year-end bonus, they must agree to be bound by a forced arbitration clause. (Margot Roosevelt, A push to end mandatory workplace arbitration: Will aggrieved workers get their day in court?, Orange County Register (Sept. 20, 2015).
In 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reversed the ruling of a federal district court and forced Michael Ashbey to pursue his retaliation and unlawful termination claims against Archstone Property Management in arbitration. Ashbey v. Archstone Property Management, Inc., 785 F.3d 1320 (9th Cir. 2015).
When Retail Sales Manager Cody Cornoyer asked his employer, AT&T Mobility Services, for a reasonable accommodation for his multiple sclerosis, his boss refused. Two months later, Mr. Cornoyer was fired. When he later filed suit against the company for violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and state law, the company forced his claim into arbitration. Cornoyer v. AT&T Mobility Services, LLC, No. 15-0474JB/WPL (D.N.M. Oct. 5, 2016).
Cari Butcher filed a lawsuit alleging that her former employer Bally Total Fitness engaged in sexual harassment and sexual discrimination, among others charges. An appellate court held the forced arbitration clause Butcher signed when she began employment precluded her from pursuing her claims in court. (Butcher v. Bally Total Fitness Corp., Cuyahoga App. No. 81593, 2003-Ohio-1734 (Apr. 3, 2003)).
When Lesia Body Phillips filed a lawsuit against Bestway Rental alleging that the company engaged in unlawful discrimination, Bestway responded by moving to compel arbitration pursuant to a forced arbitration clause Phillips signed when her employment began. (Phillips v. Bestway Rental Inc., 542 Fed. Appx. 410 (5th Cir. 2013)).
Kevin Dugan began working at Best Buy in 2000. Best Buy fired Mr. Dugan from his general manager position in April 2016. Mr. Dugan sued the company, alleging he was fired because of age discrimination. Best Buy invoked an arbitration policy it had put in place a mere three weeks before Mr. Dugan’s termination. Ultimately, the New Jersey Court of Appeals found the arbitration policy unenforceable. Now, Mr. Dugan can air his grievances in a public forum. Dugan v. Best Buy, Inc.
On March 30, 2016, Adrienna Brown filed a lawsuit against BJ’s Restaurant Operations alleging that it discriminated against her based on her race in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In June 2016 the court granted the employer’s motion to force Brown into arbitration and dismissed her case. (Brown v. BJ’s Restaurant Operations, Case No. 4:16-cv-00167-SWW (E.D. Ark. June 7, 2016)).
Months after Navy Reservist Kevin Ziober began working at BLB Resources, his employer required him to sign a forced arbitration clause. When he filed a lawsuit against the company alleging that it later terminated him in violation of a federal law protecting servicemembers, BLB moved to compel arbitration of his claims. (Jessica Silver-Greenberg and Michael Corkery, Start-Ups Embrace Arbitration to Settle Workplace Disputes, N.Y. Times (May 14, 2016).
There are numerous examples of Bloomingdale’s seeking to impose forced arbitration clauses on their employees that also prevent them from joining together in class or collective actions. See Jonmohammadi v. Bloomingdale’s, Inc., 755 F.3d 1072 (9th Cir. 2014) and Tanguilig v. Bloomingdale’s, Inc., No. A145283 (Cal. Ct. App. Nov. 16, 2016).
On May 12, 2015, Lauren Weber of the Wall Street Journal reported that the United States arm of Boehringer Ingelheim, a German pharmaceutical company, prohibited employees from receiving sales commissions unless they agreed to resolve all disputes against the company in arbitration rather than in court. (Lauren Weber, Employees Pay a Price to Retain Right to Sue, Wall St. J. (May 12, 2015).
When Andrew Ramirez filed a lawsuit on behalf of himself and other employees who alleged that Bridgestone failed to pay wages and overtime compensation that they were owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act, Bridgestone relied on a forced arbitration clause both to prevent Mr. Ramirez from pursuing his claims in court and to prevent his colleagues from joining him in a class action. (Ramirez v. Bridgestone Retail Operations, LLC, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 52588 (E.D. Mich., Apr. 12, 2013)).
Matthew J. Ryan began working as an attorney for BuckleySandler in 2008 and subsequently filed a lawsuit alleging that the law firm engaged in unlawful age discrimination against him. In response, BuckleySandler filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to a forced arbitration clause Ryan signed at the beginning of his employment. (Ryan v. BuckleySandler, Case No. 2013-1816, (D.D.C., Sept. 9, 2015)).
In an article published by Pacific Standard Magazine, Collette Shade described BuzzFeed employment documents as containing a clause stipulating that all disputes are to be brought before an arbitrator and not a judge or jury. (Collette Shade, Content Creators of the World, Unite!, Pac. Standard (Sept. 14, 2015)).
In Mills v. Capital One, N.A., in reviewing a proposed settlement agreement for a class of Capital One employees alleging overtime and other wage violations, the court acknowledged that some of the affected class members were subject to arbitration clauses.
Caleb Nelson worked for Carl Black Chevrolet of Nashville, LLC (“Carl Black”). As a condition of employment, he had to sign an arbitration provision. Mr. Nelson resigned and later rejoined the company; then, he was not required to sign an arbitration provision. When Mr. Nelson blew the whistle on Carl Black’s sale of unsafe vehicles he was fired. Mr. Nelson sued, arguing retaliatory termination. Carl Black used the original arbitration provision to suppress Mr. Nelson’s allegations and force arbitration. Nelson v. Carl Black Chevrolet of Nashville, LLC
According to an employment application for hourly workers, Carrols Restaurant Group (which operates more than 650 Burger King locations) imposes a forced arbitration program on these employees as a condition of employment. (Carrols Hourly Team Member Application For Employment (last visited Nov. 30, 2016)).
When Christina Mocino began working at Catalina Restaurant Group, she received a document requiring her to arbitrate all claims against her employer, but gave her the option to retain the right to bring a class action lawsuit, which Mocino did. In May of 2013, Mocino filed a class action lawsuit in state court against Catalina alleging violations of the wage and hour laws and, in response, Catalina filed a motion to compel arbitration, which a trial court granted and an appellate court upheld. (Mocino v. Catalina Rest. Group, Inc., Cal. Ct. App., 4th App. Dist. E059845 (Jun. 19, 2015)).
On May 5, 2009, a federal district judge in Arizona granted The Cheesecake Factory’s motion to compel arbitration of a dispute alleging violations of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, among other claims, pursuant to a forced arbitration clause it required the plaintiffs, Bryce Fitzpatrick and Albert Miller, to sign as a condition of employment. (Equal Employment Opportunity Comm’n v. The Cheesecake Factory, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 41883 (D. Ariz., May 5, 2009)).
Joseph Kruzich was hired to manage Chevron’s Policy, Government & Public Affairs department in China. Upon arrival, Mr. Kruzich allegedly discovered the company’s Chinese partners had violated Chinese laws, were noncompliant with the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act, and engaged in rampant gender discrimination. After reporting the illicit dealings, Kruzich was fired for “failure to create strong ties with Chevron’s China partner.” When Mr. Kruzich sued for wrongful termination and retaliation, he learned he was bound by the company’s arbitration policy. Kruzich v. Chevron Corp., 2011 WL 6012959 (N.D. Cal. Dec. 1, 2011)
Bretta Karp began working for Cigna in 1997. Over the years, Ms. Karp allegedly observed a pattern of gender discrimination at Cigna. In 2011, Ms. Karp brought a class action lawsuit alleging Cigna, “through its policies . . . engaged in systematic gender discrimination . . . and subject[ed] women to gender-based hostility.” (Compl. ¶ 23). Because Cigna successfully invoked the company’s Employment Dispute Arbitration Policy, Ms. Karp’s case was resolved in individual private arbitration and denied public scrutiny Karp v. Cigna Healthcare, Inc.
Citigroup’s “Employment Arbitration Policy” seeks to make arbitration the required and exclusive forum for the resolution of all employment disputes. Raniere v. Citigroup Inc., No. 11-5213-cv “>(2d Cir. Aug. 12, 2013).
Debra Gragston started working for Coca-Cola in 2000. In 2014, she filed a claim in federal court alleging race and gender discrimination. Relying on a training held years earlier in which the company explained their dispute resolution process, Coca-Cola moved to compel arbitration. Ms. Gragston argued that mere attendance at a company meeting did not constitute an agreement to waive her Constitutional right to go to court. The judge disagreed, and her claims were forced out of the public forum. Gragston v. Coca-Cola Refreshments
Comcast automatically enrolls its employees in its own private dispute resolution program, “Comcast Solutions.” Among the terms of this program is the requirement that its employees must arbitrate all employment disputes. Smith v. Comcast Cable Commc’ns Mgmt., LLC, No. 15-62672-CIV (S.D. Fla. Aug. 22, 2016).
When Robert Curtis and Robert Lowell filed a class action suit against Contract Management Services (CMS) for alleged wage and hour violations, CMS tried to break up the class and force the members into individual arbitration. Curtis v. Contract Mgmt. Servs., No. 1:15-cv-487-NT (D. Me. Sept. 29, 2016).
Merck subsidiary Cubist Pharmaceuticals valued the work of executive Robert Repez so much that they offered him a lucrative incentives package to retain him as an employee. However, as part of the agreement, Mr. Repez was required to agree to arbitrate any disputes that might ever arise in relation to his employment. Executive Retention Letter Filed With SEC
An article in the Wall Street Journal reported that CVS implemented an arbitration program for its employees in 2014. (Lauren Weber, More Companies Block Employees From Filing Suits, Wall St. J. (Mar. 31, 2015)).
Jennifer Baier worked as a waitress at an Olive Garden restaurant (a subsidiary of Darden Restaurants) and filed a lawsuit against alleging that the company violated Missouri state law by discriminating against her because of her gender. Darden responded by moving to compel arbitration pursuant to a clause Baier was required to sign at the beginning of her employment. (Baier v. Darden Restaurants et. al., Case No. WD 76584, (Mo. Ct. App., Feb. 25, 2014)).
In September 2016, Déjà Vu Consulting convinced a federal judge in Florida to compel individual arbitration of a former exotic dancer’s potential collective action lawsuit, which alleges that the company had misclassified her and her colleagues as independent contractors and that it owed them unpaid wages. (Garcia v. Deja Vu Consulting, et al., Case No. 8:16-cv-01193 (M.D. Fla., Sept. 2, 2016)).
In EqualLogic, Inc. v. Shea, 2011 WL 12541806 (N.H.Super.), wholly-owned Dell subsidiary EqualLogic, Inc. sued a former executive for, among other things, violating a non-compete clause after he resigned in order to work for a rival technology company. In EqualLogic’s Brief For The Petitioner submitted to the State of New Hampshire Supreme Court, the company acknowledged its use of an arbitration clause in its employment contract. EqualLogic, Inc. v. Shea, Brief For The Petitioner
According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Delta Air Lines, Inc. requires participants in its 2017 Long-Term Incentive Program Award Agreement to agree waive their Seventh Amendment right to go to court, and instead to arbitrate any existing or future disputes that may arise with the company. Delta Air Lines Inc. 2017 Long-Term Incentive Program Award Agreement
Karen Marino sued her former employer, Dillard’s Department Store, for unlawful termination and failure to accommodate her disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Even though Karen never signed an arbitration agreement, Dillard’s was able force her claim into arbitration based on a memo they had provided outlining the company’s new arbitration policy. Marino v. Dillard’s Inc., 413 F.3d 530 (5th Cir. 2005).
According to an employment document posted online by the American Arbitration Association in 2013, Dish Network required an employee named Matthew Ryan to arbitrate all potential employment disputes and waive his right to a jury trial as a condition of being hired by the company. (An electronic copy of the document is on file with The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy).
In September 2014, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued Doherty Enterprises Inc. (the operator of a number of Applebee’s, Chevy’s and Panera Bread franchises) in federal court alleging that the company violates federal anti-discrimination laws by imposing a forced arbitration clause on all employees as a condition of being hired. (Bill Kenealy, EEOC sues restaurant franchisee over employee arbitration requirement, Bus. Ins. (Sept. 22, 2014)).
On December 22, 2015, the National Labor Relations Board upheld an Administrative Law Judge’s findings that the forced arbitration clause a Brooklyn, New York Domino’s Pizza restaurant imposed on its workers violates federal labor law because it prohibits workers from joining together in class and collective action lawsuits. (Domino’s Pizza LLC, 363 N.L.R.B. 77 (2015)).
Thomas Lyddy was employed by Gulf States, Inc. (“GSI”) to work as a pipefitter at a Dow Chemical Co. (“Dow”) facility. Mr. Lyddy was injured on the job and filed a workers compensation claim. Shortly thereafter he was fired. Mr. Lyddy filed suit against Dow, alleging, among other things, that he was fired in retaliation for his workers compensation claim. Incredibly, Dow was able to invoke the arbitration clause in GSI’s employment policies to force Mr. Lyddy’s claims against Dow into arbitration. Lyddy v. Dow Chemical Co.
After Michael Scott and Lamont Jones filed complaints with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission alleging discrimination and retaliation, Education Management Corp. (EDMC) sought to force them, and every other EDMC employee, to sign away their rights to bring such claims in court. Scott v. Educ. Mgmt. Corp., Case No. 15-2225, (3rd Cir. Sept. 6, 2016).
When Anita Adams sued her former employer, Energy Transfer Partners (a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Equity), for wrongful termination the company moved to compel her claim into arbitration. As a result, the merits of Ms. Adam’s complaint, which alleged the company fired her in retaliation for blowing the whistle on improper financial reconciliation and payroll practices, will never be aired in a public setting. Adams v. Energy Transfer Partners
In Lewis v. Epic Systems Corp., 823 F. 3d 1147 (7th Cir. 2016), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit held that class and collective action waivers like those contained in Epic Systems’ forced arbitration clause violate the National Labor Relations Act. Epic Systems is fighting the ruling, and the case is currently pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Stephen Morris and Kelly McDaniel sued Ernst & Young, alleging that it misclassified them and a group of their colleagues, and denied them lawfully owed wages. In August 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the company’s attempt to prevent them from bringing their claims together in court violated the National Labor Relations Act. (Morris v. Ernst & Young, LLP, 834 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016)).
In 2012, Exelon acquired the energy company Constellation. As part of the acquisition, Exelon severed its employment relationship with Constellation’s Senior Vice President of Supply. When Exelon refused to honor its financial obligations under the executive negotiated contract, the recently-terminated executive brought a claim in arbitration, as required under the terms of the employment agreement.
According to an Executive Employment Agreement entered into by Express Scripts Holding Company (ESHC) and George Paz on January 13, 2014 which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, all disputes between the company and its CEO were required to be resolved in binding arbitration. Whether this contract term was negotiated or required as a condition of employment is unknown. SEC Filing of Employment Agreement
Veronica James was the only female at an Exxon Mobile Corp (“Exxon”) refinery. She worked there through the staffing company Turner Industries (“Turner”). There Ms. James was subjected to, among other things, men groping her and masturbating in front of her. She was laid off two days after complaining. Ms. James sued, alleging retaliation and pursued claims against Turner and Exxon. Turner invoked an arbitration clause in its employment contract to force these despicable details out of the public light.
Robert Duffy was employed at Facebook’s North Carolina Data Center Facility. Mr. Duffy eventually learned, among other things, he and the only other African-American employee there were paid less than similarly situated white employees. He raised the issue multiple times with local supervisors and the national headquarters. After getting no results, Mr. Duffy contacted the EEOC and filed a complaint alleging race discrimination. This case is ongoing, but Facebook has shared its intent to file a motion to compel arbitration. Duffy v. Facebook, Inc.
A group of employees united to enforce their workplace rights against their employer, Federal National Mortgage Association (“Fannie Mae”). They pursued their class claim in arbitration, as the company’s Dispute Resolution Policy required. Fannie Mae filed a complaint in court to force the employees into individual proceedings. A judge ruled that by filing a complaint Fannie Mae waived its right to force arbitration. As a result, the employees were able to redress their grievances in a public judicial forum. Prowant v. Fed. Nat’l Mortg. Ass’n, 2017 WL 2378016 (N.D. Ga. May 31, 2017)
Eve Byron reported in the Helena Independent Record that a federal district court judge in Montana ruled on October 7, 2011 that the forced arbitration clauses FedEx Ground Package System sought to impose on its drivers were unenforceable. (Eve Byron, Lawsuit against FedEx moves forward as judge throws out ‘unconscionable’ arbitration mandate, Helena Independent Record (Oct. 8, 2011)).
When Maribel Baltazar tried to pursue her claims of race and sex harassment Forever 21 in open court, she discovered she first had to fight the arbitration clause buried in her job application. Fight she did – all the way to the California Supreme Court. Baltazar v. Forever 21, Inc., No. S208345 (Cal. Mar. 28, 2016).
In July 2016, former Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a lawsuit against Fox News chairman Roger Ailes accusing him of sexual harassment. In response to Carlson’s suit, Ailes moved to compel arbitration of Carlson’s allegations pursuant to a forced arbitration clause in her employment documents. (Ian Millhiser, The Dirty Trick Fox News Is Using To Undercut Gretchen Carlson’s Sexual Harassment Suit, ThinkProgress (Jul. 11, 2016)).
After she was fired as an assistant manager at GameStop, Cara New filed claims in court for sexual harassment and wrongful discharge. Relying on a forced arbitration clause presented to New at the beginning of her employment, GameStop successfully moved to dismiss her case and compel arbitration. (New v. GameStop, Inc., Case No. 12–1371, (W. Va., Nov. 6, 2013)).
Said Samaan worked for General Dynamics Land Systems Inc., which makes combat systems for the U.S. military. According to court documents in Samaan v. General Dynamics Land Sys. Inc., Mr. Samaan claimed he suffered retaliation for blowing the whistle on the company’s failure to use correct testing methods on armored vehicles to be used by the U.S. Army. The company used its arbitration policy to stop Mr. Samaan’s access to an open court and force his claims from public view. Samaan v. General Dynamics Land Sys. Inc.
According to the August 18, 2016 Reuters News article, “Goldman Seeks To Force Ex-Employee In Fed Leak Case To Arbitrate,” Goldman Sachs Group moved to compel a former managing director into arbitration over a dispute regarding the company’s obligation to pay legal fees the former employee incurred as a result of a Federal Reserve investigation. “Goldman seeks to force ex-employee in Fed leak case to arbitrate” , Reuters News (August 18, 2016)
Guitar Center told its employees that they must sign a forced arbitration clause or they will lose their jobs. (Dave Jamieson, Guitar Center Tells Employees To Sign Arbitration Agreements Or Lose Their Jobs, Huffington Post (Jan. 15, 2016)).
As reported by Lauren Weber in the Wall Street Journal, Halliburton has implemented a forced arbitration program for its employees. (Lauren Weber, More Companies Block Employees From Filing Suits, Wall St. J. (Mar. 31, 2015)).
HCA Holdings (“HCA”) is a national for-profit operator of health-care facilities. In Rodgers-Glass v. Conroe Hospital Corporation, a former employee of Conroe Regional Hospital (“Conroe”) sued for, among other things, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. Conroe was able to force all claims out of court and into secret binding arbitration based on HCA’s forced arbitration policy. Rodgers-Glass v. Conroe Hosp. Corp.
In 2012, as part of its Workforce Reduction Plan (WRP), Hewlett-Packard (HP), a company which later split to become in part Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, offered laid-off workers Cash Severance Payments. Payments were conditioned on employees’ waiver of their right to participate in any class action against HP. In 2014, HP expanded the WRP by adding a forced arbitration clause into its separation agreement. This prevented workers from resolving disputes “arising out of the employee’s employment or separation” in a public court. Benedict v. Hewlett-Packard Co
After many years of working at Hobby Lobby’s Shawnee, KS store, Roxanne Felling was presented with a memo containing the store’s new policy forcing all employees to arbitrate claims against them. Refusal to sign would have meant losing her job. Nearly three years later, when Roxanne sought to vindicate her rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act, that memo stopped her case from being heard in open court. Felling v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., No. 04-2374-GTV (D. Kan. Apr. 19, 2005).
Since 1997, William Foshey, Sr. has installed window treatments for Home Depot customers. In 2012, Mr. Foshey filed a class action complaint alleging the company misclassified himself and similar crew members as independent contractors. Allegedly these employees did not enjoy properly classified employees’ benefits. Mr. Foshey also alleged misclassified employees never received earned overtime wages. After filing suit, Home Depot successfully moved to compel arbitration based on a provision Mr. Foshey was required to sign as a condition of employment.
Employees of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, receive a copy of the company’s Human Resources Policy, which they are expected to comply with as a condition of employment. Among the requirements is the company’s mandatory arbitration policy, which expressly provides that all matters that could otherwise be brought before a court must instead be brought exclusively in binding arbitration, and that no employee is permitted to participate in any class action lawsuits in relation to the company. Human Resources Policy
As part of its Business Continuity Agreement, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Honeywell required its Chairman and Chief Executive Officer to agree to arbitrate any disputes with the company. Business Continuity Agreement
When Kianna Hawkins tried to organize a class action suit against her employer, Hooters Restaurant, for wage violations under the Fair Labor Standards Act, she found herself forced into arbitration based on the fine print the company inserted into her job application. Hawkins v. Hooters of America, Inc., No. 09-1475, (D.D.C. July 6, 2011).
HP maintains a Workforce Reduction Plan (WRP) that requires each employee to sign a release in order receive a severance package when laid off of work. The release includes a forced arbitration clause that expressly precludes employees from resolving any and every type of dispute in a court of law. Forsyth v. HP, Inc.
For more than two years, Carlos White served as General Counsel to SoftLayer Technologies, an entity related to IBM. After being fired, Mr. White sued the company, alleging race discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. Unfortunately, Mr. White was prevented from airing his grievances in open court because the company forced his claims into secret arbitration proceedings based on a provision buried in the paperwork he signed on his first day of work. White v. SoftLayer Techs., Inc., 2015 WL 5052365 (N.D. Tex. Aug. 27, 2015)
When Robert Reichner sued his former employer, Intel subsidiary MacAfee, Inc., for age discrimination, the company forced his case out of the public courts by invoking a forced arbitration clause embedded in the job application he had submitted ten years earlier. Reichner v. McAfee, Inc.
Following 18 years of employment at a Jack In The Box restaurant, David Kunzie filed a lawsuit in Missouri state court alleging that the company violated state law by terminating him based on his age and gender. In response, Jack In The Box moved to compel arbitration pursuant to a forced arbitration clause it distributed to Kunzie during his employment. (Kunzie v. Jack In The Box, Inc., Case No. ED92974, (Mo. Ct. App., Mar. 9, 2010)).
According to an employment document posted on its website, as of July 17, 2009, JCPenney imposes forced arbitration on all newly-hired associates. (JCPenney Policies & Procedures, Arbitration of Employment Termination Disputes (last visited Nov. 30, 2016).
When Fern Zaken sued her employer, Jenny Craig, Inc., alleging religious discrimination, the company successfully moved to compel her to pursue her case in arbitration. Zaken v. Jenny Craig, Inc., No. 2:2011cv2465 (E.D.N.Y. Oct. 13, 2011).
T. Jason Noye applied for a position with Johnson and Johnson Services Inc. (JJSI) through the staffing agency Kelly Services (“Kelly”). Kelly required Mr. Noye agree to arbitration. After accepting a position, he was denied the job because JJSI’s background check contained faulty information. Mr. Noye filed a class action suit. Kelly responded with a Motion to Compel Arbitration. The court sided with Kelly, breaking Mr. Noye’s class action. He was forced to pursue his claim in individual binding arbitration. J&J Hit With Class Suit Alleging FCRA Violations
JPMorgan Chase requires its employees to sign away their right to bring employment claims against the company in court, and has sought to enforce this policy in numerous instances, including Ali v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., Lloyd v. JPMorgan Chase & Co., and JPMorgan Chase & Co. v. Jones.
Drake Alabanza worked as a cook at a KFC in Hawaii and, after being terminated in February 1993, he filed both a state agency complaint and a lawsuit alleging race discrimination and harassment. KFC later filed a motion to compel arbitration pursuant to a clause in Alabanza’s employment application. (Brown v. KFC Nat’l Mgmt. Co., 921 P.2d 146 (Haw. 1996)).
Lauren Weber reported in the Wall Street Journal that Kmart has implemented a forced arbitration program for its employees. (Lauren Weber, More Companies Block Employees From Filing Suits, Wall St. J. (Mar. 31, 2015)).
Before Stephanie Cruise could begin working for Kroger in 2007, the company required her to sign a document containing a clause forcing all potential employment disputes into arbitration. (Cruise v. Kroger Co., et. al., Case No. B248430, (Cal. Ct. App., Aug. 27, 2014.))
Landry’s Inc. is a large company that owns many subsidiary and affiliate restaurants, including Bubba Gump Shrimp Company, the Golden Nugget, Cadillac Bar, Landry’s Seafood, and Morton’s The Steakhouse. Landry’s has moved to compel arbitration against employees seeking to have their day in open court.
On September 28, 2015, a federal appellate court found that the forced arbitration clause that LensCrafters imposes on its employees, which includes a provision prohibiting them from bringing representative actions under California state law, to be unenforceable. (Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail N. Am., Inc., 803 F.3d 425 (9th 2015)).
Joseph Ernest bravely served our country as a member of the armed forces. When Mr. Ernest returned from a tour of duty in Iraq in 2005, his employer, Lockheed Martin, allegedly failed to reemploy him as required under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (“USERRA”). Mr. Ernest pursued a lawsuit under USERRA only to be forced into arbitration based the fine print in some paperwork he had signed years before. Ernest v. Lockheed Martin, Corp.
Catherine Jane Valle and Don Perolino Cristobal were required to sign forced arbitration clauses requiring that they arbitrate any future dispute with Lowe’s before they were allowed to begin working. This prevented them from pursuing their claims for overtime compensation in court. (Valle v. Lowe’s HIW, Inc., 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 93639 (N.D. Cal., Aug. 22, 2011)).
Shukri Sakkab worked for a LensCrafters retail store (LensCrafters is owned by Luxottica) in California. When he filed a lawsuit in state court against the company alleging, among other things, that Luxottica failed to pay him and other employees overtime wages they had earned, the company moved to force his claims into arbitration (Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., 803 F.3d 425 (9th Cir. 2015)).
Macy’s requires its employees to participate in its Solutions inSTORE program, which includes an internal dispute resolution process that culminates in a forced arbitration proceeding.
Janet Payne was hired as a part-time cashier at Menards and was subject to a forced arbitration clause that included a prohibition on joining with other employees to pursue class actions. After being injured at work and then terminated, Payne filed a charge with the EEOC. In April 2016, Menards settled with the National Labor Relations Board, and as part of the settlement Menards will no longer use forced arbitration agreements to prevent workers from filing class actions. (Annie Ropeik, Labor Complaint At Valparaiso Menards Leads To Company-wide Changes, WBAA-National Public Radio (Apr. 28, 2016)).
When Steven Sinofsky left his employment with Microsoft in 2012, he signed a severance agreement that included an arbitration clause governing future disputes. As an executive with the company, Mr. Sinofsky was in a better position to negotiate the terms of the agreement than most employees would be, yet it is unknown at this time whether the insertion of the arbitration clause was voluntary or offered by the company on a take-it-or-leave-it basis. Executive Severance Agreement Filed With SEC
According to court documents, Morgan Stanley expanded its dispute resolution policy in 2015 to require all employees to arbitrate any and all claims arising out of their employment with the company. Upon its roll-out, any employees who did not want to be bound by the arbitration policy had only 30 days to opt-out. It is unknown whether the opt-out provision remains a part of the company’s policy. Grant v. Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC
Sandra Nichols worked for Lilliston Ford of Kingston. There she experienced persistent sexual harassment from a coworker, which escalated to forcible kissing and groping. Ms. Nichols repeatedly reported this continuous unwanted behavior but to no avail. When Lilliston Ford was sold to Murray Ford, Ms. Nichols reported the harassment within three days; then Ms. Nichols was fired. She alleged retaliation and sued. The company forced her into arbitration based on the clause it required employees to sign during the transition. Nichols v. Murray Ford of Kingsland, Inc.
New York Life Insurance (“NYLI”) employs new insurance agents through its “Training Allowance Subsidy” (“TAS”) position. Some TAS agents’ paperwork contained a waiver to join any class action. When TAS agents unified to sue for wage violations, NYLI invoked the waiver. Relying on precedent set by the National Labor Relations Board and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the court held the company’s class ban unlawful, and the TAS agents could be heard in a public forum. Gold v. New York Life Ins.
In 2014, a federal appeals court reversed a trial court ruling and forced former Nordstrom employee Faine Davis to bring her employment claims against Nordstrom in arbitration, even though the company adopted its forced arbitration policy after the plaintiff was already employed and did not secure her affirmative consent to the new policy. (Davis v. Nordstrom, Inc., 755 F.3d 1089 (9th Cir. 2014).
Felicia Wilson spent almost two years securing a sale worth more than $10,000,000 for multi-national giant Oracle Corp. Once the deal was finalized, Oracle tried to deny her more than $250,000 in earned commissions. As provided for in the company’s employment contract, Ms. Wilson filed a dispute in arbitration and won. Rather than accept the adverse outcome, Oracle appealed to get the arbitrator’s judgment thrown out. Ultimately, Oracles efforts failed, and Ms. Wilson was awarded the commissions she had earned. Oracle Corp. v. Wilson
Mr. Watkins was a sales representative who delivered PepsiCo products. One night, Mr. Watkins’ manager asked him to sign inaccurate delivery slips. Mr. Watkins allegedly refused and later reported his manager for potential theft. Days later, Mr. Watkins was subject to disciplinary action, allegedly for unrelated reasons. According to the company’s handbook, this was only appealable to higher management or through “independent arbitration.” Mr. Watkins was suspended and, less than two months after his report, fired. Mr. Watkins sued unsuccessfully. Watkins v. Rolling Frito-Lay Sales, LP, Frito Lay Inc., and PepsiCo, Inc.
On January 10, an Administrative Law Judge reviewing a charge filed with NLRB found that pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, Inc. violated the NLRA by requiring workers to accept forced arbitration clauses banning class or collective actions as a condition of employment. Pfizer, Inc., 07-CA-176035, 10–CA–175850 (Locke, ALJ) (Jan. 10, 2017)
Jeremy Clark joined the research team at Pharmasset, Inc., now a subsidiary of Gilead Sciences, as a Senior Research Specialist. Among the terms of his contract, Pharmasset required Jeremy to agree to arbitrate any claims that may arise from his employment. When Mr. Clark pursued legal action after discovering that Pharmasset’s founding chair and director had possible conflicts of interest that may have violated certain legal requirements, Pharmasset invoked the arbitration clause.
According to an Executive Severance Plan dated June 2016, Phillips 66 has required at least one employee to arbitrate all claims against the company. It is unknown how many others have been required to forgo their right to go to court. Executive Severance Plan
In order to bring her retaliation claims in court, Debra Brent challenged the validity of an arbitration clause that her employer had inserted into the company’s employee handbook. Brent v. Priority 1 Automotive Grp., No. 8:2014cv01705 (D. Md. Mar. 3, 2015).
According to Procter & Gamble’s 2014 U.S. Separation Program, employees voluntarily leaving the company were asked to sign a Separation Agreement and Release that, among other things, waived their right to pursue any claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and other state and federal anti-discrimination laws. It also required that employees, as a condition of receiving severance pay, sign away their right to go to court by agreeing to privately arbitrate any and all future disputes. Procter & Gamble 2014 U.S. Separation Program
Former Red Lobster employees John Patterson and Jerry Robinson filed a complaint with the EEOC and a lawsuit in federal court alleging that their employer discriminated against them on the basis of race. In response, the restaurant moved to dismiss the case and compel arbitration. (Patterson v. Red Lobster aka GMRI, Inc., 81 F. Supp. 2d 681 (S.D. Miss., Oct. 6, 1999)).
When Rite-Aid Corp. hired a new Executive Vice President of Store Operations in 2015, the company drafted an employment agreement for their candidate, Bryan Everett. Among the terms of the agreement was an arbitration clause requiring Mr. Everett to forgo his right to resolve any dispute in an open court of law. It is unknown how many other executives are subject to the same clause or whether they had an opportunity to negotiate for their right to go to court. Executive Agreement filed with the SEC
On June 9, 2015, In These Times published an article by Bruce Vail reporting that an Administrative Law Judge for the National Labor Relations Board found that The Rose Group (the operator of many Applebee’s and Corner Bakery franchises, among other restaurants) had violated the National Labor Relations Act by imposing on workers as a condition of employment a forced arbitration clause preventing them from bringing class and collective action lawsuits. (Bruce Vail, Applebee’s Is Trying To Limit Workers’ Ability to Sue the Company When Their Wages Are Stolen, In These Times (June 9, 2015)).
In 2008 Ross Dress For Less forced Nicora Acosta into arbitration when she sued the company for race discrimination and retaliation. Acosta v. Ross Dress For Less, Inc., No. 12-21824-Civ (S.D. Fla. July 24, 2012).
Jorgie Franks worked in sales for a Samsung Electronics America store in Florida and alleged that the company engaged in an unfair labor practice by imposing on him as a condition of employment a forced arbitration clause that prevented him from filing any action in court and prohibited him from joining together with other employees in class or collective arbitration actions. (Samsung Electronics America, Inc. f/k/a Samsung Telecommunications America, LLC and Jorgie Franks, 363 N.L.R.B. 105 (2016)).
As reported by Lauren Weber in the Wall Street Journal, Sears imposes forced arbitration on at least some of its employees. (Lauren Weber, More Companies Block Employees From Filing Suits, Wall St. J. (Mar. 31, 2015)).
SeaWorld forces its employees to utilize the company’s Dispute Resolution Program (DPR), which includes three procedural levels, culminating in final, binding arbitration.
Rami Karzon worked for AT&T, Inc. subsidiary Southwestern Bell Telephone Company. In 2011, the company sent out an electronic arbitration policy that included an opt-out provision. Mr. Karzon did not follow the opt-out procedure within the allotted time. When Mr. Karzon was fired in 2012 he sued, alleging national origin, ethnicity, and religious discrimination based on his status as a Muslim Arab born in Jordan. The company invoked the arbitration provision; the court ordered the claim into private binding arbitration. Karzon v. AT&T, Inc.
According to an online job application, “It is Starbucks policy that after October 1, 2014, all new hires shall be subject to an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment.” (An electronic copy of the application is on file with The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy.)
Jonathon Edens worked for State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company. In a complaint filled in July 2010, Mr. Edens alleges the company failed to pay him all he was owed, including earned overtime and other wages. Mr. Edens was denied the chance to tell his story in front of a jury of his peers because, shortly after suing, State Farm successfully moved the case into private binding arbitration.
Hundreds of women joined together in a class action suit alleging sexual harassment and discrimination against Sterling Jewelers, the company that owns Kay Jewelers and Jared the Galleria of Jewelry. Because the company’s forced arbitration policy required the claims to go forward in a confidential proceeding, the full details of their case may never be known.
Malika Zghaoui filed a lawsuit in state court against Sunoco alleging that the company engaged in sexual harassment and sex based discrimination, among other claims, and the company moved to compel arbitration pursuant to a forced arbitration clause it imposed on her. A federal court granted Sunoco’s motion to compel arbitration. (Zghaoui v. Sunoco Inc., 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 51748 (D. Mass., Apr. 13, 2011)).
In August 2010, Jacquelyn Ann Whittington filed a lawsuit alleging that Taco Bell had failed to pay both her and a group of her co-workers overtime wages they were owed under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Taco Bell tried repeatedly to move the lawsuit to arbitration pursuant to a forced arbitration clause before finally settling the case. (Whittington v. Taco Bell of America Inc. et. al., 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 161665 (D.Colo. Nov. 13, 2013)).
Monica Revilla worked in a Texas Target retail location in a service position. One day while working, some shelving fell and injured Ms. Revilla. She sought damages for her injuries under the store’s mandatory arbitration provision contained within Target’s “Texas Occupational Injury Benefit Plan.” Incredibly, although Target did not deny that it had imposed a forced arbitration clause upon its employees, the company fought Ms. Revilla’s motion to compel arbitration and won.
When Placido Valdez filed a wage claim under California law against his employer, Terminix compelled Mr. Valdez to resolve the claim in private binding arbitration. Valdez v. Terminix Int’l Co., No. cv14-09748 (C.D. Cal. Feb. 19, 2015).
Maria Rebolledo worked for Tilly’s in their warehouse for more than ten years. She was a native Spanish speaker who knew no English. All workplace communications for the entirety of her employment were conducted in Spanish. Yet, when she joined with her coworkers in a lawsuit alleging wage, meal break, and rest break violations, the company tried to force Maria into arbitration based on a policy presented to her in English, never explained to her in Spanish, which she was required to sign in order to keep her job. Rebolledo v. Tilly’s, Inc., 228 Cal. App. 4th 900 (2014).
According to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), as part of its employment agreement signed in 2013, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey Bairstow agreed to arbitrate claims he may have against the company. It is unknown whether the executive’s arbitration provision was negotiable or a mandatory condition of employment. Employment Agreement
Rex Landry was hired by Charter Communications subsidiary Time Warner Cable. Mr. Landry was required to sign several employment documents whose fine print included a forced arbitration clause. After he was fired, Mr. Landry filed a class action lawsuit against Time Warner Cable. The arbitration clause required employees waive their right to join in any class action suit. However, the court found Mr. Landry’s objections to the class action ban may have merit. His claim is currently pending. Landry v. Time Warner Cable
TJX maintains a six page arbitration agreement on the internet that binds its Associates and prevents them from filing most claims against the company in a court of law. TJX Arbitration Agreement
After Robert Hayes was let go from his position with Travelers Indemnity Company (“Travelers”), he filed a lawsuit alleging age discrimination and wrongful termination in violation of public policy. In response, Travelers filed, inter alia, a motion to compel arbitration based on their employment contract. Hayes v. Travelers Indemnity Co.
Ronald Gillette and Abdul Mohamed were among the many Uber drivers who were required to agree to forced arbitration clauses before they could begin working for the ride-sharing company. (Clark Taylor, Uber’s Attempt To Silence Its Drivers May Have Just Backfired, In These Times (Aug. 19, 2015)).
U-Haul has sought in multiple instances to force former employees bringing employment claims against the company into arbitration. See Hord v. U-Haul Corp., No. 2:15-CV-155-JVB-PRC (N.D. Ind. Aug. 19, 2015) and Perez v. U-Haul Co. of Calif., No. B262029 (Cal. Ct. App. Sept. 16, 2016).
When a group of employees banded together to sue their employer, UnitedHealth Group Inc., for wage and hour violations, the company used a forced arbitration clause that banned their collective action to stop their case from moving forward. Hamoudeh v. UnitedHealth Group Inc.
Rita Wall and other plaintiffs spent years working for UPS when UPS eliminated their positions. Ms. Wall and others wanted to stay and protect their retirement benefits, but UPS allegedly misinformed them about the unavailability of similar positions. After being improperly led to accept severance packages, Ms. Wall and others learned similar positions did exist but were only available to much younger employees. Ms. Wall and her colleagues sued. The severance agreement’s forced arbitration clause denied their day in court. Wall v. UPS
As employees of the University of Phoenix, Marlena Aldrich and Kristen Nolan were responsible for recruiting service members and veterans to attend the university. In their wrongful termination suit, they alleged that they were fired for refusing to engage in fraud and intentionally mislead our country’s service members and veterans as to the quality of education provided by the university. Rather than have those allegations aired in open court, the university moved to compel the claim into arbitration, where the dispute was shielded from public scrutiny. Aldrich v. Univ. of Phoenix, Inc., No. 16-5276 (6th Cir. Oct. 24, 2016).
Rozik Parrish applied for work as an Area Manager with Valero in 2001. In order to be considered for the position, Ms. Parrish was required to sign an arbitration agreement included as part of Valero’s job application. She was hired and worked for Valero until she was terminated in 2008. Ms. Parrish then attempted to sue, alleging discrimination motivated her firing, but the company invoked its arbitration clause, and compelled her to pursue her claims only in private binding arbitration. Parrish v. Valero Retail Holdings
Daniel Newbanks and Jennifer Walton worked for Cellular Sales, which sold Verizon products exclusively, as independent contractors. The company later changed their designation, subject to an arbitration agreement and waiver of rights to join any class action. In 2012, Mr. Newbanks and Ms. Walton brought a class action alleging misclassification and unpaid wages. Cellular Sales filed a motion to compel arbitration. Ultimately, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the claims were outside the arbitration clause’s scope. Newbanks v. Cellular Sales of Knoxville, Inc.
As part of Verizon Communications Inc.’s Long-Term Incentive Plan for the 2012–2014 Award Cycle, the company required participants to agree to be bound by an arbitration clause that denied them their right to ever take Verizon to court. 2012-2014 Long Term Incentive Plan
In a case that ultimately reached the U.S. Supreme Court, Waffle House presented applicant Eric Baker with a document stipulating that any dispute with his prospective employer would be “settled by binding arbitration.” (EEOC v. Waffle House, Inc., 534 U.S. 279 (2002)).
Gale Gibson was injured when restocking shelves for her employer, Walmart Stores, Inc. When she told her manager that she needed medical attention, he told her the company would only pay for a doctor’s visit if she signed an arbitration clause waiving her right to go to court. Gibson v. Walmart Stores, Inc., 181 F.3d 1163 (10th Cir. 1999).
In Waymo LLC v. Uber Technologies, Inc., Defendant Uber sought to invoke a Waymo employee’s arbitration clause in order to force the plaintiff to pursue its trade secrets claims in secret binding arbitration. Both the district and appellate courts denied Uber’s motion to compel arbitration. Neither court found the circumstances warranted the extraordinary step of allowing a non-signatory to enforce a term of a contract of which they are not a party. Waymo LLC v. Uber Techs., Inc., 870 F.3d 1342 (2017)
In March 2011, Mark Farris began working as a salesman for The Western & Southern Life Insurance Company. After being terminated, Farris sued the company alleging employment discrimination. A court decided that the company’s forced arbitration policy prevented him from vindicating his rights in court. (Farris v. The W. & S. Life Ins. Co., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 153256 (S.D. Ind. Oct. 28, 2014).
Manuel Casares began working as a financial advisor for Wells Fargo Advisors in 2000. When he was fired in 2011, Mr. Casares sued, alleging, among other things, that he was subjected to discrimination based on a disability and his national origin. Because of an arbitration clause found within his employment agreement, the merits of Mr. Casares’ employment case were never heard by a judge in open court. Casares v. Wells Fargo Bank, N.A.
On March 10, 2016, Nitasha Tiku reported for BuzzFeed that Tara Zoumer, an associate community manager for start-up company WeWork that provides workspaces, was fired after she refused to sign an employment document with a forced arbitration clause. (Nitasha Tiku, WeWork Is Being Sued By An Ex-Employee, BuzzFeed (Mar. 10, 2016)).
Yvonne Cardwell worked at Whataburger and sued the company after suffering an injury at work. Whataburger’s motion to force Ms. Cardwell into arbitration was granted by a Texas appellate court. (Whataburger Rests. LLC v. Cardwell, Case No. 08-13-00280-CV (Tex. App., Feb. 26, 2016).
When Robert T. Anderson brought claims against Xerox for discriminating against him on the basis of his age, disability, and sexual orientation, the company filed a motion in federal court to compel arbitration. (Anderson v. Xerox Corp., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 116356 (D. Or. Aug. 21, 2014)).