Lambert v. Tesla, Inc., No. 18-15203 (9th Cir. 2019)Annotate this Case
The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's order compelling arbitration in an action brought by plaintiff, alleging violations of 42 U.S.C. 1981. The panel followed the reasoning in its en banc decision EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 345 F.3d 742 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc), and held that Title VII does not bar compulsory arbitration agreements and section 1981 claims are arbitrable. Therefore, the district court correctly determined that plaintiff's section 1981 claims can be subjected to compulsory arbitration.
Court Description: Employment Discrimination / Arbitration Affirming the district court’s order compelling arbitration, the panel held that racial discrimination claims under 42 U.S.C. § 1981 may be subjected to compulsory arbitration. Following the reasoning of EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 345 F.3d 742 (9th Cir. 2003) (en banc), addressing the arbitrability of Title VII claims, the panel held that § 1981 claims are arbitrable. Applying the Gilmer test, Luce, Forward concluded that § 118 of the Civil Rights Act of 1991, amending both Title VII and § 1981, does not bar arbitration. Concurring, Chief Judge Thomas agreed that Luce, Forward was dispositive but wrote separately because he believes that Luce, Forward was wrongly decided. Chief Judge Thomas wrote that the statutory text of § 118, stating that arbitration should be encouraged to the extent it is appropriate and authorized by law, is ambiguous. Considering the legislative history, compelling arbitration in § 1981 actions defies Congress’s intent.