Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Mmmmmmmm, arbitration clauses

Arbitration clauses and their enforceability is not the most scintillating topic in the annals of employment law. So, I took some (but not much) notice of today’s 6th Circuit decision in Seawright v. American General Financial Services, in which the Court upheld an arbitration clause contained in an employment policy over the employee’s objection that she had never assented to be bound by its terms as she never signed any acknowledgment of the policy. The majority found that Seawright’s mere continued employment after receiving the policy constituted valid assent. Because she continued working and never objected to the arbitration clause, she was bound by it.

The dissent, clearly troubled by the notion using the failure to express a lack of assent as evidence of assent, illustrates its point by quoting one of the great thinkers of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, Homer Simpson:

Homer Simpson talking to God: “Here’s the deal: you freeze everything as it is, and I won’t ask for anything more. If that is OK, please give me absolutely no sign. [no response] OK, deal. In gratitude, I present you this offering of cookies and milk. If you want me to eat them for you, please give me no sign. [no response] Thy will be done.” The Simpsons: And Maggie Makes Three (Fox television broadcast, Jan. 22, 1995).

Who says cartoons rot your brain?