Court upholds validity of employment agreement that required binding arbitration

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Employment Law,Firing,HR Management,Human Resources

A state appeals court has dismissed an employment discrimination case because the parties had signed an agreement that required disputes go to binding arbitration rather than court.

Recent case: Monica Weibust sued Woodlands Christian Academy in state court for constructive discharge, harassment, retaliation and employment discrimination under Chapter 21 of the Texas Labor Code.

The academy’s attorneys noted that Weibust had signed an arbitration agreement, so they asked the court to dismiss the lawsuit and send the case to binding arbitration.

Weibust cited several flaws in the agreement, including the fact that she had signed it after she began work. She also said it was unfair because she was required to pay half of the arbitration costs.

The court reviewed the agreement and concluded it was a fair and enforceable contract. It said the agreement was not one-sided and that Weibust had willingly signed it. The court authorized an arbitrator to consider all Weibust’s claims and order a remedy if the employer had discriminated. The court dismissed her lawsuit. (Weibust v. Woodlands Christian Academy, No. 09-10-00010, Court of Appeals of Texas, 9th District, 2010)

Final note: The academy’s lawyers didn’t even realize there was an arbitration agreement until after litigation had started.

Advice: Don’t draft your own arbitration agreements. Instead, discuss the benefits and disadvantages with your attorney and explore whether using arbitration will really save time and money.

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