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Abdul-Hasib v. Aerotek, Inc.

United States District Court, D. Maryland

November 30, 2017

LINA ABDUL-HASIB, et al. Plaintiffs
v.
AEROTEK, INC. Defendant

          MEMORANDUM & ORDER RE: ARBITRATION

          Marvin J. Garbis, United States District Judge

         The Court has before it Defendant Aerotek, Inc.'s Motion to Dismiss the Claims of Plaintiffs Abdul-Hasib, Smith, and McGunigal [ECF No. 8] and the materials relating thereto. The Court has reviewed the materials provided by the parties and finds that a hearing is not needed.

         I. BACKGROUND

         Plaintiff, Lina Abdul-Hasib (“Abdul-Hasib”) filed a putative collective action against Defendant Aerotek, Inc. (“Aerotek”) asserting an unpaid wages claim under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), 29 U.S.C. §§ 201, et seq. Aliyah Smith (“Smith”) and Beverly McGunigal (“McGunigal”) joined the putative collective action as party plaintiffs. Aerotek is a staffing company and has employed both Abdul-Hasib and Smith for temporary assignments. There are no records, however, indicating that McGunigal has ever been employed by Aerotek.

         As a part of their employment with Aerotek, Abdul-Hasib and Smith each entered into a Mutual Arbitration Agreement (“the Agreement”). See Def.'s Mot. Exs. 2, 3, ECF Nos. 9-2, 9-3. The Agreement states, in pertinent part:

Except (i) as expressly set forth in the section, “Claims Not Covered by this Agreement, ” all disputes, claims, complaints, or controversies (“Claims”) that I may have against Aerotek, Inc and/or any of its subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, directors, employees, agents, and/or any of its clients or customers (collectively and individually the “Company”), or that the Company may have against me, including contract claims; tort claims; discrimination and/or harassment claims; retaliation claims; claims for wages, compensation, penalties or restitution; and any other claim under any federal, state, or local statute, constitution, regulation, rule, ordinance, or common law, arising out of and/or directly or indirectly related to my application for employment with the Company, and/or my employment with the Company, and/or the terms and conditions of my employment with the Company, and/or termination of my employment with the Company (collectively “Covered Claims”), are subject to confidential arbitration pursuant to the terms of this Agreement and will be resolved by Arbitration and NOT by a court or jury. The parties hereby forever waive and give up the right to have a judge or a jury decide any Covered Claims.

Id. at 1 (emphasis added).

         It further states:

No Covered Claims may be initiated or maintained on a class action, collective action, or representative action basis either in court or arbitration [“the Class Action Waiver”];
A court of competent jurisdiction, not an arbitrator, must resolve issues concerning the enforceability or validity of the class action, collective action, or representative action waiver set forth above;
If, for any reason, the class action, collective action, or representative action waiver is held unenforceable or invalid in whole or in part, then a court of competent jurisdiction, not an arbitrator, will decide the type of claim as to which the waiver was held unenforceable or invalid;
All claims must be brought in a party's individual capacity and unless the parties expressly agree in writing, Covered Claims may not be joined or consolidated in court or arbitration with other individuals' claims, and no damages or penalties may be sought or recovered on behalf of other individuals;
Claims Not Covered by this Agreement Workers' compensation benefits, unemployment compensation benefits, claims for benefits under a plan that is governed by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (“ERISA”), and claims which are subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the NLRB; and Any claim that is expressly precluded from arbitration by a governing federal law or by a state law ...

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