United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Shreveport Division
A. DOUGHTY MAG. Judge
REPORT AND RECOMMENDATION
L. HAYES, UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.
the undersigned magistrate judge, on reference from the
District Court, is a motion to dismiss and compel arbitration
[doc. # 5] filed by Defendant, IBERIABANK. For reasons stated
below, it is recommended that the motion to compel be
GRANTED, that the motion to dismiss be
DENIED and that the case be
STAYED pending the outcome of arbitration.
April 19, 2018, Defendant filed the instant motion. Defendant
asserts that Plaintiff's claims are subject to an
arbitration agreement previously executed by the parties.
See Motion, doc. # 5. Defendant asks the Court to
dismiss this action, and order that Plaintiff may only pursue
her claims through arbitration.
14, 2018, Plaintiff filed her response to the instant motion
[doc. # 8]. Plaintiff does not dispute that the bulk of her
claims must be submitted to arbitration, but asks the Court
to stay, rather than dismiss, the instant law suit. On May
16, 2018, Defendant filed a reply [doc. # 9] arguing that
dismissal was the appropriate remedy where all
Plaintiff's claims are subject to arbitration. This
matter is now ripe.
February 2, 2015, Plaintiff began her employment with
Defendant assigned to Defendant's branch on 70th Street
in Shreveport, Louisiana. See Complaint, doc. # 1,
p. 2, ¶ 6.At that time, Plaintiff and Defendant
executed an Arbitration Agreement (the
“Agreement”). See IBERIABANK Corporation
Arbitration Agreement, doc. # 5-2, pp. 3-6. The
Agreement's arbitration mandate encompasses "all
disputes between the parties that may otherwise be brought
before a court, governmental agency, or other tribunal,
including but not limited to, . . . treatment by supervisors,
co-workers or third-parties, . . . job assignments, and
termination of employment . . . ." Id. at p. 3,
¶ 1(a). Specifically included in the arbitration mandate
are claims for "retaliation" as well as
"discrimination or harassment prohibited by applicable
law, including statutory and/or common law claims of
discrimination or harassment on the basis of . . . sex/gender
. . ." Id. at p. 3, ¶ 1(b). The Agreement
further provides that claims for “any form of
preliminary or permanent injunctive relief” are
specifically excluded from its arbitration mandate.
Id. at p. 4, ¶ 1(c)(i).
employed by Defendant, Plaintiff claims that she was
subjected to repeated verbal sexual harassment by a
co-worker. See Id. at ¶ 7. Plaintiff reported
these incidents to her supervisors, but her co-worker's
harassment persisted. See id. at ¶¶ 8-10.
Thereafter, Plaintiff was transferred to Defendant's
branch on Texas Street in Shreveport, Louisiana, and her
working hours were reduced. See id. at ¶ 11.
Plaintiff's working hours were increased after she
complained about the reduction. See id.
September 3, 2015, Plaintiff complained to Defendant's
regional office that her transfer was in retaliation for her
complaint of sexual harassment and requested that she be
returned to the 70th Street branch. See id. at
¶ 12. Defendant reassigned Plaintiff to the 70th Street
branch, but reduced her level of job responsibility. See
Id. at ¶ 13. Plaintiff's supervisors began
closely scrutinizing her work. See id.
her return to the 70th Street branch, Plaintiff overheard
branch manager refer to Plaintiff as a “bitch.”
See id. at p. 3, ¶ 15. Plaintiff complained to
the branch manager's supervisor about this incident.
See Id. at ¶ 15. Thereafter, Plaintiff's
supervisors increased their scrutiny of her work. See
Id. at ¶ 16.
March 2, 2016, Defendant terminated Plaintiff's
employment. See Id. Plaintiff asserts that
Defendant's stated reasons for her termination were false
and pretextual and that her termination was actually
discriminatory and in retaliation for her previous
complaints. See id.
filed this suit on February 16, 2018, seeking declaratory,
injunctive, and monetary relief for sexual harassment,
employment discrimination, and retaliation in violation of
federal and state law.
Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) applies to
“any arbitration agreement within the coverage of the
Act” which includes written agreements to arbitrate if
the contract “evidenc[es] a transaction involving
commerce.” Specialty Healthcare Mgmt., Inc. v. St.
Mary Parish Hosp., 220 F.3d 650, 654-56 (5th Cir. 2000)
(quoting, Moses H. Cone Memorial Hosp. v. Mercury Constr.
Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 23, 103 S.Ct. 927 (1983) and 9 ...