Workers' Compensation

United States: Employment Agreement Clause Requiring “Christian Mediation” in Retaliation Civil Action is Valid

An arbitration clause in a two-page employment contract that provided for the resolution of disputes by "following the biblical pattern of Matthew 18:15-17," and which also stated that any unresolved disputes would be submitted to "Christian mediation and, if necessary, legal binding arbitration,” did not amount to a forfeiture of a former employee’s federal rights. The clause was fully binding under the Federal Arbitration Act. Accordingly, where a former employee signed the contract, subsequently sustained a work-related injury, and was terminated from employment some ten months later, her suit filed in federal district court alleging various violations of federal and state labor statutes, including retaliation, was stayed. The former employee argued the arbitration clause was unconscionable because the clause (and the Rules referred to in her employment agreement) required her to submit to biblical scripture and “make the Bible the supreme authority governing every aspect of the conciliation process.” The court indicated the former employee had not explained how biblical law might conflict with her rights under federal law.

Thomas A. Robinson, J.D., the Feature National Columnist for the LexisNexis Workers’ Compensation eNewsletter, is the co-author of Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law (LexisNexis).

LexisNexis Online Subscribers: Citations below link to Lexis Advance.

See Maynard v. Valley Christian Academy, Inc., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 133268 (Aug. 21, 2017)

See generally Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, § 104.07.

Source: Larson’s Workers’ Compensation Law, the nation’s leading authority on workers’ compensation law