United States District Court, D. Idaho
ERIC A. HAZEN, Plaintiff,
CITIBANK, N.A., Defendant.
MEMORANDUM DECISION AND ORDER
Lynn Winmill, Chief U.S. District Court
Court has before it a Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay
Proceedings (Dkt. 4) filed by defendant Citibank, N.A. The
Court finds these matters appropriate for decision without
oral argument. For the reasons discussed below, the motion
will be granted, and the Court will order arbitration for all
Eric A. Hazen began working for Citibank, N.A.
(“Citi”) in May 2006. Compl. ¶ 6.
In his employment application dated February 15, 2006, Hazen
acknowledged, “I am advised that the Company has a
mandatory employment arbitration policy and employment is
contingent upon execution of written employment documents
including an agreement to submit employment related disputes
to binding arbitration.” Squyres Decl. Ex. 1
at 3, Dkt. 4-2 (“Employment Application”). On
March 20, Hazen signed a form called “Principles of New
Employment, ” which included the statement “[y]ou
agree to follow our dispute resolution/arbitration procedures
for employment disputes.” Id. Ex. 2
(“Principles of Employment”). Several times
during the following years, Hazen received an email directing
him to a webpage that contained several statements and
required him to click an “I Acknowledge” button
in order to have the ability to download and print a copy of
the latest Employee Handbook. Id. Ex. 3. These
statements included the following:
Appended to the Handbook is an Employment Arbitration Policy
as well as the “Principles of Employment” that
require you to submit employment-related disputes to binding
arbitration (see Appendix A and Appendix D). You understand
that it is your obligation to read these documents carefully,
and that no provision in this Handbook or elsewhere is
intended to constitute a waiver, nor be construed to
constitute a waiver, of Citi's right to compel
arbitration of employment-related disputes. . . . WITH THE
EXCEPTION OF THE EMPLOYMENT ARBITRATION POLICY, YOU
UNDERSTAND THAT NOTHING IN THIS HANDBOOK, NOR THE HANDBOOK
ITSELF, IS CONSIDERED A CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT.
Id. In 2008, 2010, and 2013, Mr. Hazen clicked
“I acknowledge.” Id.
parties appear to agree that the 2013 Arbitration Policy is
the policy that is currently in effect. See
Def.'s Reply at 1 n.1, Dkt. 6 (“To be clear,
Citi's position is that the 2013 Arbitration Policy . . .
is the operative policy and the one at issue in this
Motion.”); Pl.'s Resp. at 6, Dkt. 5
(“Employees are not subject to the arbitration
agreement they are hired under but the updated one each year
that they make employees acknowledge to read and state this
is the new HR and policy information”). Under
“Scope of Policy, ” the Arbitration Policy
This Policy applies to both you and to Citi, and makes
arbitration the required and exclusive forum for the
resolution of all employment-related disputes (other than
disputes which by statute are not subject to arbitration)
which are based on legally protected rights (i.e., statutory,
regulatory, contractual, or common-law rights) and arise
between you and Citi . . . These disputes include, without
limitation . . . the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990
. . . and any other federal, state, or local statute,
regulation, or common-law doctrine regarding employment,
employment discrimination, the terms and conditions of
employment, termination of employment, compensation, breach
of contract, defamation, or retaliation, whistle-blowing, or
any claims arising under the Citigroup Separation Pay Plan.
Squyres Decl. Ex. 4 at 53, Dkt. 4-2 (“2013
Arbitration Policy also specifies certain actions that
employees may take in spite of the agreement to arbitrate
disputes. Specifically, it states that “[n]othing in
this Policy shall prevent you or Citi from seeking from any
court of competent jurisdiction injunctive relief in aid of
arbitration or to maintain the status quo prior to
arbitration.” Id. at 54. Additionally, the
The Policy doesn't exclude the jurisdiction of the [EEOC]
and/or state and local human rights agencies to investigate
alleged violations of the laws enforced by the EEOC and/or
these agencies. You aren't waiving any right to file a
charge of discrimination with the EEOC and/or state or local
human rights agency. However, you shall not be entitled to
seek or receive any monetary compensation as a result of any
proceeding arising from the filing of a charge, and/or
participating in an investigation resulting from the filing
of a charge, with the EEOC and/or state or local human rights
the Policy describes certain conditions that apply in cases
of arbitration. For example, Citi pays the filing, hearing,
and arbitrator fees, as well as all other ordinary and
reasonable expenses of the arbitration Id. at 57.
Each sides otherwise pays its own legal fees and expenses.
Id. Additionally, the arbitrator may award the
employee the same relief as would be available in court, as
well as attorneys' fees where expressly permitted by
applicable law. Id. at 56.
was discharged on May 14, 2013. Compl. ¶ 50.
After being discharged, Hazen filed a complaint with the
Idaho Human Rights Commission. Id. ¶ 51. On
August 10, 2017, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity
Commission (“EEOC”) issued a determination
finding that there was reasonable cause to believe that Citi
refused to provide Mr. Hazen with reasonable accommodations
and was discharged in retaliation for requesting reasonable
accommodations. Id. ¶¶ 53-54. The EEOC
mailed Hazen a Right to Sue letter on December 1, 2017.
Id. ¶ 55.
February 28, 2018, Hazen filed a three-count complaint
alleging discrimination and retaliation in violation of the
Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Idaho Human
Rights Act (Dkt. 1). In his complaint, Hazen claims that on
at least two occasions, Citi refused to make a reasonable
accommodation for his disability, and eventually terminated
him rather than consider the accommodation. Id.
¶ 1. On April 23, 2018, Citi filed the instant Motion to
Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings (Dkt. 4). Briefing on
the Motion was completed on June 1, 2018.
Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) controls the enforcement of
arbitration clauses. Rent-A-Center, West, Inc. v.