South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Mediation Agreements Covered by Federal Arbitration Act
Description Court held that employees must submit their complaints about possible violations of federal labor law by their employer to mediation. The employment handbook stated that complaints not resolved in the company had to go to mediation. Mediation is covered by the Federal Arbitration Act.
Topic Alternate Dispute Resolution
Key Words Mediation; Fair Labor Standards Act; Employment Handbook
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Two employees of GE Medical sued the company contending that it violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to pay overtime wages as required. GE moved to compel mediation based on the company's "Resolve Program." Requiring employment disputes that are not satisfied within the company to go to mediation is part of the terms of employment. The employees contended that the FLSA did not require mediation of such matters..
Decision

Motion granted. The mediation program to resolve disputes was a part of the employment agreement and is enforceable as part of the employment relationship. An agreement to mediate employees' claims through mediation is considered an agreement to arbitrate. Mediation agreements are covered by the Federal Arbitration Act, which strongly supports the use of alternate dispute resolution processes. Arbitration is a broad term that covers many forms of dispute resolution. The mediator can take into account the employees' rights under the FLSA.

Citation Fisher v. GE Medical Systems, --- F.Supp.2d --- (2003 WL 21939479, M.D. Tenn., 2003)

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