Headline: The Ninth Circuit joined other circuits in holding that the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act which institutes employment rights for returning service members does not prohibit required arbitration of claims arising under its provisions.
Areas of Law: Arbitration, Labor Law, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act
Issue Presented: Whether the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act prohibits compelled arbitration pursuant to an arbitration clause in a service member’s employment contract for claims against his former employer arising under the act.
Brief Summary: Plaintiff-Appellant Kevin Ziober (“Ziober”), a service member of the United States Navy Reserve, signed an agreement with his employer, Defendant-Appellee BLB Resources, Inc. (“BLB Resources”), compelling arbitration of any claims that should arise during the course of his employment or at his termination. Ziober later sued BLB Resources in federal court, claiming a violation of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act of 1994 (“USERRA”) on the ground he was terminated after notifying his employer that he was being deployed. The district court granted BLB Resources’s motion to compel arbitration and dismissed the case holding that the USERRA did not nullify the arbitration agreement. On appeal, the Ninth Circuit panel affirmed, holding there is no indication from the USERRA’s text or legislative history that Congress intended to override the Federal Arbitration Act’s directive that courts enforce arbitration contracts according to their terms.