Successful Appeal to Compel Arbitration in Employment Case

January 4, 2024

Steven Schwartz, Mike Ward and Brian Sableman were successful in securing a reversal from the Court of Appeals for the Eastern District of Missouri. The court reversed a St. Louis County trial judge that refused to enforce an arbitration agreement between a waitress and her employer. The waitress sued her employer for sexual harassment in St. Louis County Circuit Court. The bar/restaurant filed a motion to compel arbitration and dismiss the case based on an arbitration agreement that the waitress had signed while she was employed there. The waitress claimed that there was no consideration for the arbitration agreement, or the delegation clause in the agreement, because a promise of her continued employment was illusory, and not sufficient consideration. However, the Court of Appeals held that, since both the waitress and her employer were bound by the arbitration agreement, and its delegation clause, there was sufficient consideration. Both parties gave up their right to a jury trial before a court, and both parties gave up their right to an appeal. The arbitration agreement called for the employer to pay for the arbitration expenses. Pursuant to Missouri Supreme Court precedent, the Court of Appeals reversed and remanded with instructions to compel arbitration.