Ziober v. BLB Resources, No. 14-56374 (9th Cir. 2016)Annotate this Case
Plaintiff filed suit against his employer, alleging violations of the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act of 1994 (USERRA), 38 U.S.C. 4301-4334. Plaintiff claimed that he was fired from his job after providing notice of his deployment to Afghanistan in the United States Navy Reserve. The court joined its sister circuits and held that the plain text of USERRA does not preclude the compelled arbitration of disputes arising under its provisions. Furthermore, plaintiff has failed to establish that the legislative history evinces Congress’s intent to prevent the enforcement of the arbitration agreement he signed. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration and dismissing the complaint.
Court Description: Arbitration / Labor Law. The panel affirmed the district court’s order compelling arbitration and dismissing an action under the Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act. Joining other circuits, the panel held that USERRA does not prohibit the compelled arbitration of claims arising under its provisions, which establish employment rights for returning servicemembers. The panel concluded that neither the text nor the legislative history of USERRA evinced Congressional intent to override the Federal Arbitration Act’s mandate that courts rigorously enforce arbitration agreements according to their terms. Concurring, Judge Watford wrote that while the proper interpretation of USERRA was open to debate, it was not prudent to create a circuit split by reversing the district court’s ruling. ZIOBER V. BLB RESOURCES 3