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Arbitration Clause That Includes Employment Discrimination Claims Is Valid
Description A fired employee sued his former employer for violation of Minnesota's employment discrimination statute. Court of appeals held that the comprehensive arbitration clause in the employment contract meant that the employment discrimination claim had to go to arbitration, not court, for resolution.
Topic Alternate Dispute Resolution
Key Words Arbitration Clause, Employment Discrimination
C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts Correll had an employment agreement with Distinctive Dental Services (DDS). The agreement provided that any controversy should be settled by arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association. The agreement also stated that Correll would not engage in any business, directly or indirectly, that competed within seven miles of DDS's offices. Correll's wife, also a dentist, went to work for a competitor of DDS within seven miles of DDS, which then fired Correll. He sued DDS, claiming marital status discrimination in violation of Minnesota law. DDS demanded arbitration. The district court refused to compel arbitration; DDS appealed.
Decision Reversed. An agreement to arbitrate that includes employment discrimination claims is valid, enforceable, and irrevocable under Minnesota's Uniform Arbitration Act. When Correll signed the agreement, he did not lose any substantive due process rights, but he did agree to have disputes handled by arbitration. The fact that Minnesota's Human Rights Act established exclusive procedure for employment discrimination claims does not void arbitration of claims.
Citation Correll v. Distinctive Dental Services, 594 N.W.2d 222 (Ct. App., Minn., 1999)

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