Updates from the Second Circuit and Supreme Court About Arbitration Provisions and Potential Impact on Employers

April 2013

Decision Alert: Second Circuit Holds There is No Substantive Right to Pursue Title VII Pattern-or-Practice Claims

Last week, the Second Circuit weighed in again on the enforceability of an arbitration provision in Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co., No. 11-5229-cv (2d Cir. Mar. 21, 2013). The provision at issue required employees to pursue any employment-related claims in arbitration rather than in the court system and did not provide for class arbitration. The Second Circuit held that the district court should have compelled arbitration, finding that there is no substantive statutory right to pursue Title VII pattern-or-practice claims. In the employment context, a Title VII pattern-or-practice claim alleges that an employer intentionally discriminated against a protected class of employees. Plaintiffs typically establish these claims via 1) statistical evidence of discrimination by the employer (e.g., salary information, demographic data, etc.) and 2) “anecdotal evidence,” or testimony from employees describing the discrimination they suffered or observed.

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