Texas Employment Law Update

Texas Employment Law Update

A Resource for Texas Employers

Category Archives: Arbitration

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U.S. Supreme Court Invalidates Arbitration Agreements of Interstate Truck Drivers

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated the arbitration agreements that an interstate trucking company had with its independent contractor drivers. That case arose in the context of a class action wage and hour lawsuit brought by a group of independent contractor interstate truck drivers alleging that they were not properly paid.  The company… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Enforces Arbitration Agreement that Prohibits Class Action Arbitration

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Jury Waivers, News & Commentary, Wage & Hour
I’m traveling for work this week but today’s Supreme Court opinion is one I have been waiting for all term. In Epic Systems v. Lewis, the Court held that arbitration agreements between employees and employers that require mandatory arbitration of disputes can also require that all disputes be arbitrated individually and not as a class… Continue Reading

Employers Using On-line Acknowledgments to Enter Arbitration Agreements May Face Problems of Proof

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
Texas law favors the resolution of disputes using alternative dispute resolution mechanisms such as arbitration.  To compel an employee’s claim to arbitration, the employer need only show that a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and the claims asserted by the employee fall within the scope of the agreement.  Many companies utilize technology such as online applications and… Continue Reading

Expect a Showdown at the Supreme Court over Class Action Waivers in the Employment Context

Posted in Arbitration, Jury Waivers, News & Commentary
Arbitration agreements containing class action waivers can be an effective way for employers to mitigate risk against defending large scale mass actions filed by employees. And in the Fifth Circuit, the federal Court of Appeals covering Texas, and three other federal circuits, individual arbitration agreement containing class-action waivers are enforceable. In a recent Seventh Circuit Court of… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Refuses to Enforce Illusory Handbook Arbitration Provision

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
It’s a rare day when a Texas state court or federal court sitting in Texas refuses to enforce an arbitration agreement.  The Texas law is well-developed on this issue and the table is heavily tilted in favor of arbitration.  Consequently, most employer arbitration programs in Texas are enforced.  However, a recent opinion from the Fifth… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Rejects Argument that Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Violate the NLRA

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
I first wrote about the NLRB’s decision that pre-dispute arbitration agreements waiving the right to assert claims as part of a class action violated federal labor law in January 2012 (post).  Back then, I thought it was prudent for employers to wait for the result of the the inevitable appeal that would follow before revising or… Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds that Arbitrator, Not State Court, Must Determine Enforceability of Noncompetition Agreement

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Noncompetes and Restrictive Covenants
In a per curiam opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court held that under the Federal Arbitration Act arbitrators, not courts,must determine the enforceability of covenants not to compete when the parties are subject to agreements that call for the mandatory arbitration of disputes. In Nitro-Lift Technologies v. Howard, two employees left their employment with Nitro-Lift and began working… Continue Reading

Dodd-Frank Act Effect on Employer Arbitration Programs

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Retaliation
The Dodd-Frank Act created a "reward" (bounty) program for  whistle blowers that voluntarily provide original information of fraud or unlawful activity in violation of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and other securities law violations.  The Dodd-Frank Act also provides whistle blowers protection from retaliation and renders pre-dispute arbitration agreements of whistle blower… Continue Reading

Fifth Circuit Holds 24 Hour Fitness Arbitration Agreement Illusory and Unenforcable

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Wage & Hour
24 Hour Fitness operates health clubs and fitness facilities across the country.  As part of its operations, 24 Hour Fitness employs sales representatives.  As a condition of employment, employees are required to enter into arbitration agreements to arbitrate their employment disputes with their employer.  FLSA claims (i.e., overtime and minimum wage claims) are covered within the scope of the… Continue Reading

Court Strikes Employer’s Arbitration Agreement With Employee For Lack of Consideration

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, News & Commentary
There are a few pockets in the state where lawyers representing employees still vigorously fight the arbitration agreements their clients signed with employers agreeing to arbitrate all disputes. One of the pockets is in El Paso, Texas as evidenced by the number of opinions out of the court of appeals addressing the enforceability of an arbitration… Continue Reading

NLRB Says Agreements to Waive Participation in Class Action Violate Federal Labor Law

Posted in Arbitration, Human Resources, News & Commentary
Wow!  That is all I could say after I read the recent NLRB decision holding that an employer’s requirement that employee sign mandatory arbitration agreements waiving the right to litigate claims in a collective or class action violates the National Labor Relations Act.   In the case styled D.R. Horton, Inc. and Michael Cuda, the… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court Holds that Arbitration Agreements Governed by State Law May Include Avenues for Appellate Review

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
I have written some of the disadvantages of arbitration over other procedural methods of resolving cases such as waivers of jury trial.  (See post and post).  However, in an opinion from the Supreme Court of Texas, one disadvantage of arbitration (i.e., the limited appellate review of arbitration awards that is available) can be minimized where the… Continue Reading

Dallas Court Vacates Arbitration Award in Discrimination Case Because of Arbitrator’s Failure to Disclose Prior Contacts with Party Representative

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries, Discrimination, Judicial Updates
It is pretty difficult for a party to get an adverse arbitration award reversed or vacated.  A recent Dallas Court of Appeals decision shows the rare instance were such a reversal occurred.  In Alim v. KBR (Kellogg, Brown & Root) –Halliburton, the Dallas court held that an arbitrator’s failure to disclose, in an employment discrimination, breach of contract… Continue Reading

Texas Supreme Court to Consider Validity of Arbitration Agreement in Employee Handbooks

Posted in Arbitration
Don Cruse at the Supreme Court of Texas Blog, wrote about the first case of the new term on which the Supreme Court of Texas requested full briefing —Hatton v. D.R. Horton, Inc.  that case involves an issue of significant importance to Texas employers.  According to Don, this case concerns the enforceability of arbitration clauses in employee handbooks. In… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Texas Directs Trial Court to Vacate Order and Send Case to Arbitration

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
Texas courts routinely enforce arbitration agreements between employers and their employees. In most parts of the state, lawyers representing employees agree to go to arbitration upon being presented with a copy of an arbitration agreement signed by the plaintiff-employee. On occasion, however, there are disputes over the enforceability of an arbitration agreement. The Supreme Court… Continue Reading

A Non-Employment Case Important to Employment Lawyers

Posted in Arbitration, Case Summaries
In a non-employment case of significant importance to employers and employment lawyers, the U.S. Supreme Court held today that imposing class arbitration on parties who have not agreed to class arbitration is inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act and is therefore not permitted.  This case arose out of an MDL antitrust case alleging that certain competitors were engaged in a price-fixing… Continue Reading

Supreme Court of Texas Compels Arbitration of Discrimination and Retaliation Claims

Posted in Arbitration
Texas courts strongly favor the resolution of disputes through arbitration. When parties to a dispute have signed an agreement to arbitrate covered disputes, Texas courts will rarely disregard that agreement.   A recent per curiam opinion of the Supreme Court of Texas continues that trend by conditionally granting mandamus relief in a case alleging national origin discrimination… Continue Reading

2008 Term U.S. Supreme Court Wrap-up

Posted in Age, Arbitration, Discrimination, Judicial Updates, Labor-Management Relations
The U.S. Supreme Court completed its 2008-09 term. On the docket were five cases of interest dealing with employment law.  Here is a summary of the holdings in those cases. Crawford v. Metropolitan Gov’t of Nashville and Davidson County, Tenn., (2009) An employee’s participation in an employer’s internal harassment investigation by responding to the employer’s questions may constitute protected oppositional activity under Title VII that… Continue Reading

Defending Judicial Trials of Employment Disputes

Posted in Arbitration, Discrimination, Jury Waivers
I just returned from Tulane University Law School’s 27th Annual Multi-State Labor and Employment Law Seminar held at the La Cantera resort in San Antonio, Texas.  (See brochure here).  Attendees and presenters at this conference are some of the finest and most experienced labor and employment lawyers in the country.  During my three days at the conference, I did an unscientific, anecdotal survey… Continue Reading

Supreme Court Holds Collective Bargaining Agreement Can Require Arbitration of Age Discrimination Claims

Posted in Arbitration, Discrimination, Harassment, Retaliation
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court held that provisions in collective bargaining agreements that clearly and unmistakably require union members to submit statutory discrimination claims to the grievance and dispute resolution provisions of the agreement are binding and enforceable.  In 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett ,  a dispute arose over a commercial office building’s reassignment of night watchmen employees (whose duties… Continue Reading