Escobar-Noble v. Ritz-Carlton Hotel, No. 11-1506 (1st Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2001 the Hotel hired plaintiff as a casino worker. Approximately six years into his employment, he filed a charge of sex and age discrimination with the EEOC. In his complaint under Title VII, 42 U.S.C. 2000e-3(a), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 29 U.S.C. 623(d), and Puerto Rico law, he alleges that, shortly after he made these filings, his supervisors embarked on a pattern of retaliation ultimately resulting in his dismissal. He filed a retaliation charge with the EEOC, which issued a right-to-sue letter. Citing two agreements signed by plaintiff, each containing an arbitration clause, the Hotel moved to compel arbitration. Plaintiff argued that the agreements he had signed impermissibly shorten the limitations period, impede public enforcement of antidiscrimination laws, and unduly burden workers' rights. The district court determined that the arbitration clauses were valid and dismissed without prejudice. The First Circuit affirmed, citing the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 1-16, and holding that the arbitrator can determine whether Puerto Rico law permits shortening of the limitations period.