Arbitration and the enforceability of arbitration provisions have been hot topics in employment and consumer litigation for a number of years. Over the last decade, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued numerous opinions on the subject as well have a number of state supreme courts. In Shockley v. PrimeLending, 929 F.3d 1012 (8th Cir. 2019), the federal appellate court of the Eighth Circuit recently held that an arbitration provision in an employee handbook was not binding on the employee.
The plaintiff, Jennifer Shockley, was employed by PrimeLending from June 2016 through July 2017. After leaving the company, Shockley filed a collective action lawsuit against PrimeLending in federal court for allegedly violating the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). PrimeLending moved to compel arbitration on the basis that a provision in its employee handbook required all disputes to be decided by binding arbitration. The District Court denied PrimeLending’s motion. On appeal, the Eighth Circuit affirmed.
PrimeLending maintained an intranet accessible by its employees, which contained employment-related information, such as its new hire policies and its employee handbook. The employee handbook contained an arbitration provision which provided:
If the dispute cannot be settled through negotiation, you and the Company agree to attempt in good faith to resolve the covered dispute exclusively through final and binding arbitration in accordance with the terms, conditions, and procedures of this Arbitration Clause. Continue reading ›