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Court upholds employer's mandatory arbitration contract

The Sixth Circuit issued a decision on May 19, upholding Varsity Ford Management Services, LLC's employment contract that limited employees' ability to sue for age, disability or race discrimination.  Omari Mazera had worked for Varsity in Ann Arbor for seven years before what he alleged was an unlawful termination.  A naturalized citizen from Kenya, Mazera claimed his firing was illegal discrimination and that the 2004 employment contract imposed by the employer could not precipitously mandate arbitration of employees' civil rights.  The contract required arbitration of all disputes and was imposed as a "term and condition of employment."

The Sixth Circuit concluded that the contract was enforcible and also reversed the trial court's ruling that would have invalidated a clause requiring Mazera to pay $500.00 to initiate arbitration.  It left undecided whether the 10-day "statute of limitations" to elect arbitration was reasonable.

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