South-Western Legal Studies in Business

Employer Can Unilaterally Impose Arbitration Requirement for Employment Disputes
Description

Appeals court affirmed that an employer, by giving employees the right to resign or protest an arbitration policy that was adopted, could effectively unilaterally impose the policy that was binding to employees who continued employment.

Topic Employment Law
Key Words

Arbitration; Unilateral Right; Sex Discrimination

C A S E   S U M M A R Y
Facts

Hardin sued her employer, First Cash, for sex discrimination. First Cash moved to compel arbitration under its newly adopted arbitration agreement. Hardin argued that she had not agreed to the arbitration requirement and the trial court agreed that she was not bound by the employer's new rule. First Cash appealed.

Decision

Reversed. The arbitration policy issued by First Cash stated that it took effect on a particular date and that any employees who continued their employment after that date thereby assented to the policy. That position is correct. Under Oklahoma law, an arbitration agreement allowing an employer the unilateral right to modify an agreement is not illusory; the employer gave employees ten days notice of the policy taking effect. Hardin, by continuing employment and not objecting to the policy, thereby assented to be covered by it as a term of employment. Hence, her sex discrimination claim must go to arbitration.

Citation

Hardin v. First Cash Financial Services, Inc., 465 F.3d 470 (10th Cir., 2006)

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