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When an employee, who is subject to an arbitration clause, files a complaint alleging employment discrimination, retaliation and breach of contract, a motion to dismiss the complaint is appropriate.

January 1, 2011
Emmanuel Esaka, Plaintiff, v. Nanticoke Health Services, Inc., Mid-Sussex Medical Center, Inc., t/a Mid-Sussex Medical Center, Margaret Crockett and Joseph Stokes, Defendants

Emmanuel Esaka filed a complaint against Nanticoke Health Services, Inc., Mid-Sussex Medical Center, Inc. The plaintiff alleged he was subjected to discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Delaware Discrimination in Employment Act. The complaint also alleged a breach of an Employment Agreement entered into between Esaka and Nanticoke. Nanticoke filed a motion to dismiss pursuant to Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6), arguing that all of Esaka's claims are subject to a dispute resolution clause. Federal law recognizes a strong public policy in favor or arbitration. The FAA mandates that district courts direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues for which a valid arbitration agreement applies. Since all of the allegations contained in Esaka’s complaint dealt with the terms, conditions and/or privileges of his employment, arbitration of the matter is appropriate for the dispute. The court held the intent of the Agreement to arbitrate disputes arising out of its performance should, therefore, be given effect. The court specifically discussed that, submitting discrimination claims that could otherwise be brought in federal court to an arbitrator does not contravene the letter or the spirit of Title VII. The court ordered the parties to proceed to alternative dispute resolution in accordance with the terms of the Employment Agreement. Employers should make certain that the alternative dispute resolution in its employment agreements is exhausted once a complaint is filed against them.

Case Law Alert - 1st Qtr 2011

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