Court Finds Signed Arbitration Agreement Insufficient To Constitute Waiver Of Employee’s Right To A Judicial Forum

In Brody v. Culturesource, No. 20-11663 (D.Mich.) (November 9, 2020), a U.S. District Court refused to compel an employee to arbitrate claims against her former employer, finding that an electronically signed employment application did not constitute an enforceable waiver of her right to a judicial forum. According to the court:

“The application was generated by CoStaff HR Services, which provides human resources
services to CultureSource. CoStaff sent Brody an email, which contained a link to the application and a PIN number unique to her. Brody filled in the boxes of the application with her biographical information, including her employment history and educational background. Below the “education” section was a box containing several paragraphs of “Terms and Conditions, ” including a paragraph entitled “Arbitration and Enforcement.” This paragraph reads as follows: “It is agreed that arbitration shall be the mechanism for bringing a legal claim against the Company and/or the Client for matters relating to employment discipline and/or termination. Arbitration must be commenced within one (1) year of the date the claim arises.” Below the “Terms and Conditions” box is the following statement: “I have read each section of the Agreement and I accept the terms and conditions described.” In order to submit the application, Brody clicked a “Validate” button that appeared at the end. This process created a digital signature, with the date and IP address. Brody attests, however, that she never saw the “Terms and Conditions” on her computer screen when she filled out the application, nor did she receive a hard copy.

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