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Third Circuit Upholds Arbitration Agreement in Meal Break Class Action

Published Date: 
April 4, 2012
Authors: 
Evan J. Shenkman (Morristown),
Shira L. Krieger (Morristown),
Ryan T. Warden (Morristown),

Quilloin v. Tenet Healthsystem Philadelphia, Inc., et al., 2012 WL 833742 (3d Cir. Mar. 14, 2012): In a precedential opinion, the Third Circuit held that an arbitration provision contained in an employment agreement signed by the plaintiff upon hiring was enforceable and compelled the plaintiff, who filed a class action under the Fair Labor Standards Act over automatic meal break deductions, to submit her claims to arbitration. The Third Circuit found that any ambiguity in the arbitration agreement regarding award of attorneys' fees and whether the arbitration agreement contained an implied class action waiver were questions for the arbitrator and did not render the arbitration agreement unconscionable. The Third Circuit also held that time limitations set forth in an arbitration agreement to follow several internal steps and procedures before submitting a claim to arbitration were not substantively unconscionable. Finally, the Third Circuit held that the arbitration clause in the employment contract was not rendered procedurally unconscionable based on the parties’ allegedly unequal bargaining positions.

Note: this article was published in the April 2012 issue of the New Jersey eAuthority.