On appeal from Superior Court of New Jersey, Law Division, Essex County.
Approved for Publication December 8, 1997.
Before Judges Long, Stern and Kimmelman. The opinion of the court was delivered by Long, P.j.a.d.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Long
The opinion of the court was delivered by
In April, 1991, plaintiff Alamo Rent A Car, Inc. ("Alamo"), hired defendant Betzaida Galarza as a rental agent at its Newark, New Jersey facility. In September 1993, Galarza signed Alamo's standardized employment manual known as the Family Member Pact or the "FamPact." The FamPact outlined the terms and conditions of the employment relationship and was signed by both Galarza and an Alamo representative.
Specifically, in a paragraph entitled "My Bill of Rights," the FamPact enumerated fifteen employee rights including "the right to be free from discrimination" and "the right to be free from harassment." Further the FamPact provided:
ARBITRATION. If I claim that Alamo has violated this FamPact, I agree that the dispute shall be submitted to and resolved through binding arbitration administered by the American Arbitration Association. "Arbitration" means the settlement of a dispute by one or more persons who are chosen to hear both sides and then come to a decision.
The FamPact concluded with the following "Summary & Agreement":
I have read this FamPact, and promise and agree to:
abide by all its terms and conditions; accept my pay and benefits, including the benefits of FamPact.
Alamo has written this FamPact, and promises and agrees to:
abide by all its terms and conditions; provide me competitive pay and benefits, including the benefits of FamPact.
Alamo and I acknowledge and understand the special relationship created between us by this FamPact. It is our entire agreement of employment. Alamo's employing me under the terms and conditions of this FamPact, and my ...