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Civil Rights claim against supervisor is not barred by arbitration agreement

Stacey Riley filed a discrimination claim against her supervisor, Robert Ennis, even though she had filed an employment contract with the Ennis Center for Children that provided for arbitration of "any dispute with the Agency."  Ennis persuaded the Genessee County Circuit Court to dismiss the claim on the basis of the arbitration language.  The Court of Appeals reversed, holding that Ennis, himself, was not a party to the contract or its arbitration provision.  While there is a public policy against bifurcating contractual provisions or allowing parties to a contract to divide their rights between arbitration and court jurisdiction, this policy does not automatically include non-parties--or corporate agents--within the protection of an arbitration clause.  Further, the Court found that Ennis was not an intended third-party beneficiary of the parties' agreement.
Thompson O’Neil, P.C.
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Traverse City, Michigan 49684
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