A federal appeals court set aside a district court ruling and reintroduced a disability fee filed by a former employee of Neiman Marcus Group Inc. based on a mandatory arbitration agreement.
Tayler Bayer developed emphysema while working in downtown San Francisco. shop operated by Neiman Marcus Group Inc., based in Dallas, according to court documents in Tayler Bayer v. Neiman Marcus Group, Inc.
In March 2007, he was placed on medical leave by his doctor, who authorized him to returned to work on June 1, 2007, but limited him to work a maximum of four days a week.
Following Bayer's return from medical leave, Neiman Marcus denied his request to change his work schedule to satisfy his medical condition under the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to court documents.
Shortly afterwards, Bayer filed an administrative fee with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which charged D allas-based resellers with ADA infringement for its failure to satisfy Mr. Bayers work schedule request.
On the same day, Nieman Marcus handed Bayer a mandatory arbitration agreement which gave him a choice between terminating his employment by 1
Mr. Bayer sued the dealer at the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, accusing him of violating the ADA, which ruled in Neiman Marcus' favor.
The decision was overturned by a unanimous three-judge appeals panel at the Ninth U.S. District Court of Appeals in San Francisco in Tuesday's decision.
"The 'choice' presented by Neiman Marcus was a false dilemma," said the panel's decision. As the Board of Appeal stated in an earlier decision in the case in 2014: “Bayer's continued employment did not constitute an implied consent to arbitration because he repeatedly refused to sign the contractual forms and was therefore not bound by
"Nor was the agreement a conciliation document that simply channeled disputes to another forum, as Neiman Marcus claims," Tuesday's decision said.
'The California Court of Appeal has found that the agreement is not convincing. Among other worrying conditions, the agreement provided for arbitration for administrative fees already filed and alleged to change the statute of limitations.
'Nieman Marcus also reserved for himself the power to change, amend or revoke the terms of the contract at any time, with thirty days' notice to the employee.
The ruling said, "Bayer reasonably believed that his consent to the agreement would jeopardize his EEOC fee, and by extension his ability to obtain an ADA residency.
"He repeatedly refused to sign contract-related forms and filed a second EEOC charge claiming that Neiman Marcus was violating his rights" in violation of the ADA "by pressuring him to choose between his ADA rights and his job. "
" As the district court found, Bayer "felt intense pressure and coercion" prior to the entry into force of the agreement "and thereafter," the decision states.
An employer "disrupts ADA rights when it knowingly forces an employee to wait for the E EOC accuses a false choice to either resign or consent to an unconscious arbitration agreement specifically targeting ADA rights," the panel said, when set aside the decision of the lower court and reinstated the case for further negotiations.
Mr. Bayer's lawyer, Cliff Palefsky, of McGuinn Hillman & Palefsky & # 39 ;s law firms in San Francisco, said in a statement: “There have been very few decisions that interpret the ADA & # 39 ;s interference clause and other federal statutes.
“This is an important decision as it will create a legal basis for employees who receive illegal arbitration agreements to address the issue without losing their jobs. And hopefully it will encourage companies to draft their contracts properly the first time around, ”the statement said. Bayer was sacked by Neiman Marcus in 2009, according to Mr Palefsky.
Neiman Marcus' lawyers did not respond to a request for comment.