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Friday, March 11, 2005

Cases: Continued employment = consideration

Ohio_flag An employee who continues to work for an employer after the employer publishes a policy requiring arbitration of employment disputes is bound by that agreement, according to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit in an unpublished opinion.

The plaintiff had been hired as a server at an Applebee’s Restaurant in July, 2000. In October, 2001, the employer unilaterally promulgated "a broad, mandatory dispute resolution process culminating in binding arbitration for employee claims against" the employer. She was not asked to sign the agreement until July, 2002, when she refused to do so. She later sued, claiming, among other things, violations of wage and hour laws and a hostile work environment.

The district court, applying Ohio law, found that the employer’s proposal was an offer for a unilateral contract, which the plaintiff accepted by subsequently showing up for work. The appellate court agreed, and added that by continuing to work after learning that the employer’s policy was mandatory, she manifested assent to it.

Dantz v. American Apple Group, LLC, No. 03-4128, 2005 U.S. App. LEXIS 3454 (March 1, 2005)

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