Carlson v. Home Team Pest Defense, Inc.Annotate this Case
Carlson sued Home Team, alleging that she was employed as Home’s office manager from February 4, 2013, until her wrongful termination on July 1, 2013. Carlson sought damages for wrongful termination, harassment, breach of her employment agreement, unpaid overtime, retaliation, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Home moved to compel arbitration, because on Carlson’s first day of work, she was directed to Home’s electronic “onboarding system,” which contained company policies, including Home’s Agreement to Arbitrate. Carlson objected to the Agreement in an email, stating: “I would like to negotiate the terms.” In a conference call with Home’s human resources manager, Carlson asked who would pay for any arbitration and what firm would perform it. The HR Manager began to explain, but Carlson “cut [her] off,” saying that was all the information she needed and she would sign the Agreement. Home’s in-house counsel produced a copy of the Agreement that Carlson “signed electronically,” which was kept in her personnel file.The trial court denied Home’s motion. The court of appeal affirmed, finding the arbitration agreement procedurally and substantively unconscionable, and rejecting contentions that state law unconscionability principles are preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1, and that the courts could sever unconscionable provisions.