Big Brain Solutions—Arbitration or Litigation?

Big Brain Solutions—Arbitration or Litigation?

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Big Brain Solutions is a Colossal subsidiary in the consulting industry, located in Silicon Valley.

Early in 2014, Liz Bennett and Ralph Nickleby each applied to become administrative assistants at Big Brain Solutions. After successfully completing the interview
process, both were hired and asked to sign contracts that contained the following provision: “If there is any dispute as to employment practices or employee/employer
actions, this dispute will be decided via binding arbitration.” Both Liz and Ralph signed their contracts after being given ample time to review them and to consult an
attorney if they wished to do so.

Several months after he was hired, Ralph became addicted to cocaine. Around the same time, Liz became pregnant with her first child. When Liz experienced complications
during her pregnancy, Big Brain initially agreed to grant her medical leave; but shortly thereafter, the company informed Liz that her position had been eliminated due
to a “reorganization.”

Fearing that Ralph might have trouble picking up the slack for the recently released Liz, Big Brain asked him to take a surprise drug test. Ralph was confused and
alarmed and refused to take the test. Big Brain informed him that he was fired because of his refusal to take the test.

Liz decided to file a lawsuit in state court under the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts, which guarantee pregnant women a set number of weeks off for
pregnancy. Ralph, on the other hand, submitted his case to an arbitrator.

Your task is to determine whether either Liz or Ralph’s grievances could be heard by a court, and explain the reasons why or why not. Furthermore, you must determine
what the likely outcomes will be if these cases are decided by an arbitrator. Communicate your findings to the vice president via memo.

While you have some general awareness of the fact that there are means of alternative dispute resolution, you realize that you need to know a lot more about this
subject before you can attempt to respond to the VP’s questions. Some of the topics you should review include the following:

What general procedures or rules govern a typical arbitration proceeding?
Can a company force an employee to use arbitration (instead of a lawsuit) to settle an employment-related dispute because of a contract provision?
Are there times when an arbitration clause might be invalid or unenforceable against an employee?
What effect do claims based on specific federal or state laws have on arbitration provisions in employment contracts?
Based on the answers to the above questions and your review of the employment law material, what will the likely outcome be in Liz’s case? In Ralph’s? In the next
step, you will use the information gathered in this step to create an outline that will prepare you to write the memo.

You’ve finished your research. You’ve reflected on how the facts and the law come together in this situation. You’ve analyzed the possible arguments and determined
reasonable conclusions to the questions you’ve asked yourself. Now it’s time to outline your memo.

Review your outline to make certain it covers all relevant points and progresses in a logical order. Identify the major points you want to make and be sure that you
have adequately covered all the relevant arguments or reasons needed to support them. In the next step, you will use your outline to create a memo for the VP.

Using your outline and research notes, write a memo for the VP. Be sure to meet the following requirements:

Format your memo following the example linked above, including APA-formatted in-text citations and an APA-formatted reference list (do not format the body of the memo
using APA style, just the reference list). See references and citations for details.
Include a specific recommendation on what action, if any, the VP should take based on your analysis and conclusions.
Support your conclusion with references to legal principles and laws.

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