Supervisor harassment? You can force arbitration

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employers can use an arbitration clause to compel arbitration of al­­most all employment-related problems, including supervisor sexual harassment. That can limit the chance of a huge jury award.

Recent case: Sophia Sewell signed an arbitration agreement with her employer that required arbitration of all claims involving employment.

Later, she sued, alleging that her supervisor had sexually harassed her until she felt forced to quit. The alleged sexual harassment took place at training seminars and other company-sponsored events.

The company asked the court to dis­­miss the case and send it to ar­­bi­­tra­­tion. That’s what the court did, since the arbitration agreement was broad enough to cover all employment-related claims, including sexual harassment if they were alleged to occur while on company business. (IFMG Securities, et al., v. Sewell, No. 13-10-00235, Court of Appeals of Texas, 2011)

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