Carey v. 24 Hour Fitness USA, Inc., No. 10-20845 (5th Cir. 2012)Annotate this Case
In 2005, during plaintiff's employment, defendant issued an employee handbook, including a provision that all employment-related disputes, whether initiated by an employee or by defendant, would be "resolved only by an arbitrator through final and binding arbitration," that disputes under the Fair Labor Standards Act were among those subject to the arbitration policy, that disputes cannot be brought as class actions or in representative capacities, and that the Federal Arbitration Act was its governing authority. Plaintiff signed a receipt that reiterated the arbitration policy. After his employment ended, plaintiff filed a class action, alleging violation of the FLSA by failing to adequately compensate him and other similarly-situated employees for overtime work. The district court denied a motion to stay proceedings and compel arbitration, finding that the provision was illusory because the employer retained the right to terminate or modify the provision at any time. The Fifth Circuit affirmed, noting that under the provision the company could make amendments almost instantaneously.