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Gonzales v. Sitel Operating Corp.

United States District Court, D. Nevada

January 8, 2020

SITEL OPERATING CORPORATION, a Delaware Corporation, Defendant.



         Pending before the Court is the Motion to Compel Arbitration, (ECF No. 11), filed by Defendant Sitel Operating Corporation (“Defendant”). Plaintiff Margaret Gonzalez (“Plaintiff”) filed a Response, (ECF No. 13), and Defendant filed a Reply, (ECF No. 15). For the reasons discussed below, the Court GRANTS in part and DENIES in part Defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff was Defendant's employee between January 30, 2017, to September 1, 2018, working as a Customer Service Representative. (First. Am. Compl. (“FAC”) ¶¶ 7, ECF No. 7). However, on February 9, 2018, Plaintiff was involved in an auto accident, which caused significant injuries to her shoulder, hands, and wrists. (Id. ¶ 8). These injuries, according to Plaintiff, rendered her unable to perform the essential functions of her work. (Id. ¶ 10). Consequently, she requested roughly three months off from work through the Family and Medical Leave Act, which Defendant approved. (Id.). Her injuries persisted, so Plaintiff requested additional time off through the Americans with Disabilities Act, 42 U.S.C. § 12101, et seq. (“ADA”). (Id. ¶ 12). Defendant initially approved her request for continued leave, but eventually terminated her effective September 1, 2018. (Id. ¶ 15).

         On May 23, 2019, Plaintiff commenced this case by filing her Complaint, which she amended on June 12, 2019, alleging that Defendant's conduct violated the ADA. (Id. ¶¶ 1, 16- 29). Two months after Plaintiff filed her initial Complaint, Defendant moved to compel arbitration of all her claims. (Mot. Compel, ECF No. 11). The basis for compelling arbitration purportedly arises from an agreement that Plaintiff electronically executed with Defendant on February 7, 2017, as a condition of employment. (Id. 3:3-13). The relevant portion of the purported agreement states,

Any controversy, claim, or dispute relating to my employment or the termination of my employment with the Company shall be resolved through the Company's Open Door communications Policy, and if that procedure fails, then by final binding arbitration pursuant to the National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes of the American Arbitration Association . . . . This section applies, as permitted by law, to any claims under any statute or common law, including but not limited to . . . the Americans with Disabilities Act . . . .

(Associate Agreement, Ex. A-1 to Mot. Compel, ECF No. 11-3); (Pl.'s Electronic Signature Page to Associate Agreement, Ex. A-2 to Mot. Compel, ECF No. 11-4). Plaintiff claims that she never executed the agreement and, therefore, is not bound by it.


         Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) provides that:

A written provision in ... a contract evidencing a transaction involving commerce to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising out of such contract or transaction ... shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.

9 U.S.C. § 2. “In enacting § 2 of the [FAA], Congress declared a national policy favoring arbitration and withdrew the power of the states to require a judicial forum for the resolution of claims which the contracting parties agreed to resolve by arbitration.” Southland Corp. v. Keating, 465 U.S. 1, 10 (1984). Courts place arbitration agreements “upon the same footing as other contracts.” Volt Info. Sciences, Inc. v. Bd. of Trs. of Leland Stanford Junior Univ., 489 U.S. 468, 478 (1989).

         Under the FAA, parties to an arbitration agreement may seek an order from the Court to compel arbitration. 9 U.S.C. § 4. The FAA “leaves no place for the exercise of discretion by a district court, but instead mandates that district courts shall direct the parties to proceed to arbitration on issues as to which an arbitration agreement has been signed.” Dean Witter Reynolds Inc. v. Byrd, 470 U.S. 213, 218 (1985). Thus, the Court's “role under the [FAA] is . . . limited to determining (1) whether a valid agreement to arbitrate exists and, if it does, (2) whether the agreement encompasses the dispute at issue.” Lee v. Intelius, Inc., 737 F.3d 1254, 1261 (9th Cir. 2013). If a district court decides that an arbitration agreement is valid and enforceable, then it should either stay or dismiss the claims subject to arbitration. Nagrampa v. MailCoups, Inc., 469 F.3d 1257, 1276-77 (9th Cir. 2006).


         A. ...

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