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Smith v. Radwell International

June 20, 2007

ROBERT A. SMITH, PLAINTIFF,
v.
RADWELL INTERNATIONAL, INC., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Honorable Joseph E. Irenas

OPINION

IRENAS, Senior District Judge

This is a racial discrimination action by Plaintiff, Robert A. Smith ("Smith"), an African-American, against his former employer, Defendant Radwell International, Inc. ("Radwell"). Plaintiff alleges violations of 42 U.S.C. § 1981 et seq., and New Jersey's Law Against Discrimination, N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 et seq.*fn1

Radwell moves to Dismiss and Compel Arbitration. For the reasons set forth below, the Motion will be granted.

I.

In November, 2004, Speck Industrial Controls, Inc. ("Speck") hired Smith as a quality assurance technician.*fn2 When Smith was hired, he was given Speck's arbitration policy, which states:

[A]ny disputes arising during your employment involving claims of unlawful discrimination or harassment under federal or state statutes shall be submitted exclusively to binding arbitration under the [Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. § 1]. . . . This arbitration shall be the exclusive means of resolving any disputes arising out of your employment or termination from employment by Speck Industrial Controls or you, and no other action can be brought by employees in any court or any forum.

By simply accepting or continuing employment with Speck Industrial Controls, you automatically agree that arbitration is the exclusive remedy for all disputes arising out of or related to your employment with Speck International Controls and you agree to waive all rights to a civil court action regarding your employment with Speck Industrial Controls; only the arbitrator, and not a judge nor a jury, will decide the dispute. (Def's Ex. A) Smith signed an acknowledgment and agreement to comply with the terms of the arbitration policy ("Acknowledgment") on November 8, 2004. The Acknowledgment states:

My signature on this document acknowledges that I understand the Speck Industrial Controls Arbitration Policy detailed in this manual and agree to abide by its conditions.

I further agree that, in accordance with Speck Industrial Controls' Arbitration Policy that I will submit any dispute-- including but not limited to termination-- arising under or involving my employment with Speck Industrial Controls to binding arbitration within one (1) year from the date the dispute first arose. I agree that arbitration shall be the exclusive forum for resolving all disputes arising out of or involving my employment with Speck Industrial Controls or the termination of that employment. (Def's Ex. B)

Smith alleges that he made verbal complaints to his supervisors about pay disparities among similarly situated African-American and white employees, and an alleged racial slur uttered by a white senior worker. After the verbal complaints, he claims that Radwell engaged in a pattern of retaliation against him.

Allegedly, on February 4, 2006, Smith sent a formal complaint letter to his three supervisors, which led to a meeting to discuss his discrimination complaints on March 9, 2006. He was terminated on March 23, 2006, allegedly in retaliation for his complaints.

Smith filed the instant Complaint on November 28, 2006. Relying on the Arbitration Agreement, Radwell moves to dismiss the ...


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