My blog colleague David Torrey warned me some time back about a decision from the West Virginia Supreme Court in Rent-A-Center v. Ellis. A simplified summary of the case is that Rent-A-Center was postponed to force arbitration of a lawsuit from an employee who claims that she was illegitimately fired from her job for the continuation of work allowances. The staff member had signed a standard arbitration agreement prior to recruitment, which contained a delegation clause stipulating that the arbitrator had the exclusive power to resolve any challenge to the applicability or constitution of the arbitration agreement. The employee tried unsuccessfully to circumvent the agreement by arguing that the clause was ambiguous as to whether the arbitrator`s questions were for the arbitrator, that it was not tried under a common state law and that it was not valid because it had violated West Virginia law. Surprisingly, the Supreme Court of West Virginia imposed a conciliation of the appeal by abandoning a decision of the first instance that the delegation clause was not procedurally and materially acceptable and that there was no mutual agreement of conciliation. (It is unlikely that the court will fall into the FAA trap after the U.S. Supreme Court has disguised itself as Marmet Health Care Center, Inc. v. Brown).
In summary, the Court concluded that the delegation clause clearly expresses the intention to communicate and is not materially or procedurally unacceptable (unequal bargaining power, „take it or leave it“ adhesion, etc.). Do you want to help unmask other employers who force their employees to give up their rights? Please complete our short-circuit form to report on companies that have refereed their employees. Mr. Watkins was a sales agent who supplied PepsiCo products. One night, Mr. Watkins` manager asked him to sign inaccurate delivery vouchers. Mr Watkins reportedly refused and then reported his manager for theft. A few days later, Mr. Watkins was disciplined, allegedly for unrelated reasons. According to the company manual, this practice was attractive only to senior management or through „independent conciliation.“ Lord.