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Appeals court ruling: USERRA claims can go to arbitration

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in Employment Law,Human Resources

In a big win for employers that prefer arbitration over litigation, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that service members in the armed forces seeking to enforce the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) can be compelled to arbitrate rather than litigate in federal court if they signed an arbitration agreement.

Recent case: Kevin signed an agreement with his employer requiring the arbitration of legal disputes. He later sued the employer in federal court, claiming that he was fired from his job after providing notice of his deployment to Afghanistan in the United States Navy Reserve.

Essentially, he informed his employer he had been called to active duty and his supervisor told him he would not have a job when he returned to civilian life.

The trial court said the arbitration agreement was invalid and the lawsuit could proceed, but the employer appealed. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals sided with the employer, concluding that if the arbitration agreement was valid under California law, it was enforceable. The case was sent to arbitration. (Ziober v. BLB Resources, No. 14-56374, 9th Cir., 2016)

Learn the basics of USERRA compliance at www.theHRSpecialist.com/USERRA.

Our guide describes who the law covers, compliance time frames and relevant court cases to help you understand your obligations. Also provided is special advice on accommodating wounded warriors who return to work with disabilities.

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