Arbitration Agreement Adopted During Employment Encompasses Actionable Events Occurring Prior To Its Adoption

In Reulbach v. Life Time Fitness, Inc., a federal court in Ohio granted the defendant’s motion to compel arbitration of claims brought by a former employee. The company introduced the arbitration requirement after plaintiff commenced his employment. Among other arguments, the plaintiff contended that the arbitration provision would not apply to allegedly unlawful events that occurred prior to the implementation of the arbitration agreement. As the court explained, “[p]laintiff argues that because ‘Covered Claims’ are only those claims ‘that arise between team members and Life Time,’ only claims ‘that accrued’ after the Agreement was in effect would be subject to arbitration.”

Rejecting this argument, the court held that it was appropriate to encompass earlier occurring events within the scope of the arbitration provision as long as suit had not already been filed:

“The Agreement contains no language that places a distinction between claims that are based upon events that occurred before and after the adoption of the Agreement. Moreover, the Agreement contains a provision that claims asserted in actions that were already ‘commenced’ before the Agreement was entered into would not be subject to arbitration. A reading of the Agreement as a whole supports a finding that this arbitration policy applies to all employment related disputes, including those claims based upon events occurring prior to the execution of the Agreement.”

Accordingly, the court determined all of plaintiff’s claims were arbitrable.

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