On Sept. 27, the Kentucky Supreme Cloister in Northern Kentucky Area Development Commune v. Snyder held that the Federal Adjudication Act (FAA) does not pre-empt a Kentucky statute barring administration from acute advisers to waive, arbitrate or abate approved rights as a condition of employment. Although this is evidently the aboriginal statewide authoritative prohibition on an employer’s bounden adjudication policy, if appealed, the accommodation is not accustomed to bear U.S. Supreme Cloister scrutiny.
Danielle Snyder formed for the Northern Kentucky Area Development Commune (NKADD), a government article accouterment amusing programs to eight counties in Northern Kentucky, as an authoritative purchasing agent. As a action of her employment, she active an acceding acute adjudication of any application altercation with NKADD. The acceding accurately stated, in adventurous type: “By accepting application with the district, you will accept accustomed this acceding beneath the Federal Adjudication Act, and it will be bounden on claims apropos to your employment.”
After NKADD concluded Snyder’s employment, she filed a bigmouth and allowance and hour accusation in Boone Circuit Court. The NKADD confused to break the affairs and bulldoze arbitration, which the cloister denied. On appeal, the Kentucky Cloister of Appeals affirmed abnegation of the motion, absolute that NKADD never had ascendancy to access into the adjudication agreement. As to the FAA, the cloister of determined: “federal law does not pre-empt the ascendancy of the commonwealth to abjure the ascendancy of its [agencies] to access into adjudication agreements.”
State High Cloister Weighs In
The Kentucky Supreme Cloister accepted arbitrary assay to accede whether the FAA preempts KRS § 336.700(2), which reads:
Notwithstanding any accouterment of the Kentucky Revised Statutes to the contrary, no employer shall crave as a action or arrangement of application that any agent or being gluttonous application waive, adjudge or contrarily abate any absolute or approaching claim, appropriate or account to which the agent or being gluttonous application would contrarily be advantaged beneath any accouterment of the Kentucky Revised Statutes or any federal law.
The cloister aboriginal bent that the NKADD, as a state-created entity, acted above its ascendancy in acute an agent to adjudge application disputes as a action of employment. Following that conclusion, the cloister advised “if the FAA nullifies this cessation because of its preemptive aftereffect on laws acute adjoin arbitration.”
As to FAA preemption, the Kentucky Supreme Cloister angry to the U.S. Supreme Court’s accommodation in Kindred Nursing Centers Ltd. Partnership v. Clark and quoted the preemptive ambit as follows: “The FAA appropriately preempts any accompaniment aphorism acute on its face adjoin adjudication … And not alone that: The act additionally displaces any aphorism that covertly accomplishes the aforementioned cold by disfavoring affairs that (oh so coincidentally) accept the defining appearance of adjudication agreements.”
The cloister bent that, beneath this standard, FAA pre-emption would not administer because KRS § 336.070(2) “does not absolutely attack, distinct out or accurately discriminate adjoin adjudication agreements.” That is, according to the court, because the statute applies added about to bar conditioning application on waiving, arbitrating or abbreviating any application rights, FAA preemption is not implicated.
In extensive this decision, the Kentucky Supreme Cloister acclaimed that advisers and administration may abide voluntarily to access into adjudication agreements that do not aggregate altitude of employment.
We will accumulate a aing eye on this decision, both as NKADD determines whether to address for certiorari afore the United States Supreme Cloister and as Kentucky courts administer the decision. While the Kentucky Supreme Cloister activated ample accent in captivation that the FAA does not accroach KRS 336.070(2), the cloister additionally put the assay in the ambience that the FAA “does not authorization a adverse holding” than Kentucky accompaniment agencies cannot action application on waiving, arbitrating or abbreviating application rights.
Arguably, the Kentucky Supreme Court’s cardinal could be construed almost to administer alone to accompaniment authoritative agencies, but it is not bright whether it will be continued to administer to clandestine administration as well. Nor is it bright whether the accommodation would administer to administration accouterment advisers with a best whether to adjudge or instead to opt out of adjudication at their own election.
Jay Inman is an advocate with Littler in Lexington, Ky. © 2018 Littler. All rights reserved. Reposted with permission.
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