In the appeal to the Supreme Court, the applicants Colon and Arafa asserted that they were transportation workers under the FAA`s Section 1 waiver and that, therefore, their arbitration agreements could not be enforced under the FAA. As the arbitration agreements describe the FAA as “sole and exclusive applicable law”, the plaintiffs argue that there was no “meeting of heads” regarding the arbitration. The plaintiffs also argued that “without an explicit intention to apply the NJAA, state law cannot be applied in place of the FAA.” In 2012, Pfizer dismissed plaintiff Amy Skuse as a flight attendant. In 2016, Pfizer sent two emails to its employees, including Skuse, announcing its arbitration agreement and directing employees to complete a “training module” to inform them of the agreement and finally be asked to electronically click on a box to “validate” the agreement. The agreement itself (which was made available to employees via a link in the emails) provided that if Skuse continued to work 60 days after receiving the agreement, it would take effect and Skuse would be “deemed to have accepted, ratified and accepted the agreement by [it]. Maintaining employment with the company”, that it has “recognized” the agreement. Shortly thereafter, Pfizer Skuse sent an email confirming that it had completed the Mutual Arbitration and Class Waiver Agreement training module. “This is indicative of the California lawmaker`s continued hostility to employment arbitration proceedings,” says Shareef Farag, a partner at law firm BakerHostetler. Ogletree Deakins` Arbitration/ADR Practice group helps employers across the country and all sectors to establish, implement and enforce labour agreements and other ADR programmes.
We advise employers on the potential costs and benefits and on effective ways to structure solutions according to the objectives, sector, staff and location of each employer. No, provided the law applies. An employer may not require a worker to take steps to avoid arbitration. Under the law, any agreement requiring an employee to unsubscribe from any waiver or to take positive steps to preserve his or her rights is considered a condition of employment and is therefore prohibited. This approach may be particularly desirable for New Jersey employers, in light of the NJLAD amendments passed in 2019, which include prohibiting retaliation against workers who refuse to accept mediation of claims that allege discrimination, retaliation and/or harassment. While it is expected that the anti-arbitration provisions of the amendment will ultimately be deemed unenforceable, given that they were anticipated by the FAA (at least in cases where the FAA applies), this has not yet been done. The Skuse decision offers employers the opportunity to continue to require workers to agree to settle employment-related rights (including rights that assert discrimination, retaliation and/or harassment) as a condition of their employment, without having to face potentially valid retaliation from dismissed employees for refusing to give their consent. Skuse allows employers to incriminate workers before the date of entry into force of an agreement if they do not want to be bound by it. The Supreme Court was not persuaded by the Appeal Division`s arguments. First, the Supreme Court stated that even if Skuse had claimed that it had not verified the emails because of the large amount of emails addressed to it (it did not make such a claim), the large amount of emails in the workplace would not have invalidated the agreement.
The Supreme Court respected the “general rule. [das] “Those who do not choose to read a contract before signing cannot release themselves from their duties afterwards.” The Supreme Court stated that any allegation by Skuse that it had completed the e-mail module without reading its contents or related documents would have had no influence on the analysis. . . .