United States District Court, W.D. Louisiana, Lake Charles Division
JANNA M. BANKS
WAITR HOLDINGS, INC.
KATHLEEN KAY MAG. JUDGE
A. DOUGHTY UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE
before the Court is Defendant Waitr Holdings, Inc.'s
(“Waitr”) Motion to Compel Arbitration and
Dismiss Collective Action Complaint [Doc. No. 4]. Plaintiff
Janna M. Banks (“Banks”) filed an opposition
memorandum. [Doc. No. 7');">7]. Waitr filed a reply memorandum.
[Doc. No. 10].
following reasons, the Motion to Compel Arbitration and
Dismiss Collective Action Complaint is GRANTED IN PART AND
DENIED IN PART.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
is a Louisiana-based technology company that operates an
online food order and delivery platform that allows its
patrons to use mobile or desktop applications to order food
and have it delivered from participating restaurants.
September 27');">7, 2018, Banks accepted an offer to work for Waitr
as a Mobile Restaurant Success Manager. Banks worked in that
position from October 5, 2018, until October 2019. She was
assigned to the Albany, Georgia and surrounding areas. The
primary job responsibilities for Mobile Restaurant Success
Managers included (a) “onboarding” new
restaurants, (b) instructing restaurant staff in Waitr
operations and processes, (c) demonstrating how to process
Waitr orders using iPad, (d) inputting and updating menu
information, (e) providing marketing suggestions, (f) record
keeping, and (g) receiving and reporting complaints from the
connection with and in consideration for her employment,
Banks signed an offer letter.
offer letter contained the following provision:
In the event of any dispute or claim relating to or arising
out of our employment relationship, you and the Company agree
that (i) any and all disputes between you and the Company
shall be fully and finally resolved by binding arbitration,
(ii) you are waiving any and all rights to a jury trial but
all court remedies will be available in arbitration, (iii)
all disputes shall be resolved by a neutral arbitrator who
shall issue a written opinion and (iv) the arbitration shall
provide for adequate discovery.
[Doc. No. 4-2, Declaration of Amy Behne (“Behne
Declaration”), Exh. 1, ¶ 5 & Tab A].
November 16, 2018, Waiter distributed an Agreement to
Arbitrate Claims. This agreement was emailed to Banks at her
@waitrapp.com email address. That Agreement provides as
In consideration of the at-will employment relationship
between Waitr, Inc. and/or Waitr Holdings, Inc.
(“Employer”) and Employee and the mutual desire
of the parties to enter into this Agreement to Arbitrate
Claims (“Agreement”), the parties hereby agree
that any and all disputes, claims or controversies between
the parties, including but not limited to any dispute arising
out of or relating to this Agreement, the employment
relationship between the parties, or the formation or
termination of the employment relationship, or which arise
after the termination of the employment relationship, which
are not resolved by their mutual agreement shall be resolved
by final and binding arbitration by a neutral arbitrator.
The claims covered by this Agreement include, but are not
limited to, claims for . . . violation of any local, state,
or federal constitution, statute, law, ordinance or
regulation . . . wages, overtime, premiums, gratuities, tips,
service/administrative charges, or any other compensation
due; penalties . . . .
[Doc. No. 4-2, Behne Declaration, Exh. 1, ¶ 7');">7 & Tab
Agreement to Arbitrate Claims further provides:
ACKNOWLEDGE THAT I HAVE HAD AN OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW AND ASK
QUESTIONS CONCERNING THIS AGREEMENT AS A CONDITION OF
EMPLOYMENT. I UNDERSTAND THAT I AM PERMITTED TO TAKE THIS
AGREEMENT WITH ME AND REVIEW IT WITH AN ATTORNEY OF MY CHOICE
IF I SO DESIRE.I FURTHER UNDERSTAND THAT BY CONTINUING TO
WORK FOR COMPANY, MY CONTINUED EMPLOYMENT WILL BE CONSIDERED
ACCEPTANCE OF THE AGREEMENT, EVEN WITHOUT SIGNATURE.
Id. (emphasis in original). The Agreement to
Arbitrate Claims expressly applies only to disputes that
otherwise would be resolved in a court of law; it does not
extend to claims or matters that may be brought before an
administrative agency or purport to limit the employee's
rights before administrative agencies. Id.
to the Agreement to Arbitrate Claims, arbitration proceedings
are to be held within geographic proximity to the employee;
the arbitrator is to be selected by mutual agreement of the
parties; and Waitr agrees to pay the arbitrator's and
arbitration fees. Id. The Agreement to Arbitrate
Claims provides for the same rights to conduct discovery,