08/02/2011 // Los Angeles, CA, USA // Keller Grover LLP // Los Angeles Employment Attorney Eric Grover
Los Angeles, CA (Los Angeles Employment Attorney News) — A California employment lawsuit, which accused Inland Valley Publishing Co. of wrongful termination, has been ordered back to the Superior Court after the plaintiff appealed the trial court’s decision to force the plaintiff into arbitration, reported Eric Grover, a Los Angeles employment attorney at Keller Grover LLP.
According to court filings, the sixth appellate court temporarily stayed the defendant’s arbitration to show why the superior court should not hear the case and subsequently ordered the case to be returned to the lower court for trial.
The plaintiff, Sharon Elizabeth Zullo, began working for Inland in or around 2004 and was later promoted to an “Account Executive” on December 1, 2009. Zullo later claimed she was the target of discriminatory actions from her direct supervisor, who allegedly discriminated against her because of her race and national origin. Zullo asserted that she was ultimately terminated because she complained about the discriminatory treatment in the workplace, court documents stated.
Zullo promptly filed an employment lawsuit on the grounds of discrimination, but because she had signed an arbitration policy agreement, the trial court ruled on the defendant’s behalf—ordering the complaint to arbitration, stated California employment lawyer, Eric Grover.
Inland maintained that the plaintiff was aware of the arbitration clause because it is outlined in the Inland employee handbook, which read in part: “Any dispute arising out of the termination or alleged termination of any employee’s employment… or any claim for discrimination or harassment arising out of any employee’s employment, which cannot be resolved through either discussion or mediation, shall be submitted to final and binding arbitration before a neutral arbitrator pursuant to the American Arbitration Association Employment Dispute Resolution rules… Arbitration will be the exclusive means of resolving any dispute described above. No other action will be brought by any employee in any court or other forum except those claims specifically excluded in the arbitration procedures, or as otherwise provided by law…”
Although the plaintiff signed the agreement, Zullo appealed the superior court’s decision to compel arbitration on two grounds: the arbitration agreement was unconscionable and, therefore, unenforceable; and Zullo disputed the authenticity of the receipt Inland submitted in support of its motion, said Eric Grover, a Los Angeles employment attorney.
The plaintiff asserted that Inland’s arbitration clause is “unfairly one-sided,” and the superior court “erred in overruling her objection that the acknowledgment of receipt was not properly authenticated.”
The appellate court ruled that Inland’s arbitration policy is “a contract of adhesion, fails to give adequate notice of the arbitration rules that will apply, and allows Inland the full range of remedies and forums for resolution of whatever claims it might have against petitioner while limiting petitioner to binding arbitration of her claims against Inland. It also imposes strict time limits within which petitioner must respond to any arbitration-related communication without imposing similar requirements on Inland. Accordingly, the arbitration agreement is unconscionable and cannot be enforced as written,” court documents read.
A writ of mandate was ultimately given, which requires the trial court to vacate its original order and schedule a trial for the plaintiff’s employment lawsuit claims, stated the California employment lawyer, Eric Grover.
This news story was brought to you by Keller Grover LLP, the California employment lawyers. If you or someone you love has been a victim of fraudulent, unfair, or deceptive marketplace practices; as well as discrimination in the workplace, contacting a knowledgeable Los Angeles employment attorney can help get the justice you deserve.
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