The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit issued a summary order affirming a decision by the district court for the district of Connecticut compelling arbitration pursuant to an employee handbook’s mandatory arbitration provision. Reviewing de novo, the court upheld the lower court’s order compelling arbitration based on its finding that (1) plaintiff’s employment had been at-will since its inception and (2) her continued employment after the amendment of defendants’ employee handbook, which included the mandatory arbitration requirement, equated to an acceptance of the new terms. The court noted that in Connecticut, the terms of employment may be determined even in the absence of an express written agreement. Focusing on whether plaintiff validly accepted the modification to her original unilateral employment contract, which at the time of hiring did not contain a mandatory arbitration requirement, the court answered in the affirmative. The fact that plaintiff continued to work for defendants for approximately 15 years following the arbitration amendment to the employee handbook, coupled with the fact that defendants produced evidence that plaintiff electronically accepted the modified employee handbook several times after it was amended, together demonstrated plaintiff’s consent to the added arbitration provision. McAllister v. East, No. 11-4696 (2d Cir. May 5, 2015).

This post written by Brian Perryman.

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