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O'Meara v. Intepros Inc.

United States District Court, D. Connecticut

July 24, 2017

GERALD O'MEARA, GLORIA DOMIZIANO, and KRISTINA KRUSE
v.
INTEPROS INCORPORATED

          RULING ON MOTION TO COMPEL ARBITRATION AND STAY PROCEEDINGS PENDING ARBITRATION

          HOLLY B. FITZSIMMONS UNITED STATES MAGISTRATE JUDGE.

         This action was commenced on October 14, 2016, in Connecticut Superior Court by plaintiffs Gerald O'Meara, Gloria Domiziano and Kristina Kruse, former employees of defendant IntePros Incorporated. Defendant moves to compel arbitration and for a stay of proceedings pending arbitration, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(1), 12(b)(6), D. Conn. L. Civ. R. 7, the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. §1, et seq. and Conn. Gen. Stat. §52-408. [Doc. #11-1 at 1].

         For the reasons that follow, defendant's Motion to Compel Arbitration and Stay Proceedings Pending Arbitration [Doc. #11] is GRANTED.

         BACKGROUND FACTS[1]

         1. Defendant IntePros is a staffing agency which does business throughout the United States, including in Stamford, Connecticut. Compl. at Count One ¶6. It is a Pennsylvania corporation with a corporate office in Lexington, Massachusetts. Compl. ¶5.

         2. Plaintiffs were employees of IntePros at its Stamford, Connecticut office. Compl. at Count One ¶4.

         3. At the commencement of their employment, each of the plaintiffs entered into an employment agreement with defendant. [Doc. #11 Aff. Daniel Hinkley, ¶¶3-5; Def. Ex. A-C].

         4. The Employment Agreements contain identical choice of law and arbitration provisions.

         5. Paragraph 12 of the Employment Agreements states, “Governing Law. This Agreement shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.” Id.

         6. Paragraph 15 of the Employment Agreements states,

Arbitration. Any dispute or claims arising out of or relating to the Employee's employment or any provision of this Agreement, whether based on contract or tort or otherwise, including, but not limited to claims of sexual harassment and claims of discrimination based on race, religion, national origin, gender, age or disability, shall be submitted to arbitration pursuant to the national Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes of the American Arbitration Association (“AAA”). Any such dispute or claim shall be heard in the AAA's Boston Office. Any issue with respect to the arbitrability of a particular dispute or to the scope of this Section shall be decided by the arbitrator. An arbitration award rendered pursuant to this Section shall be final and binding on the parties and may be submitted to any court of competent jurisdiction for entry of a judgment thereon. Notwithstanding the aforementioned obligation to arbitrate, the Employer may sue in any court of competent jurisdiction for the Employee's violation of Section 7 [entitled “Disclosure or Misuse of Confidential Information”] and/or 8 [entitled “Restrictive Covenant”] of this Agreement.

Id.

         7. From mid-January to early February of 2015, plaintiffs either resigned or were involuntarily terminated from employment.[2]

         8. On May 29, 2015, following their resignation and/or terminations of employment, each plaintiff filed a separate administrative charge at the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (“CHRO”) and the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”).[3] Compl. at Count One ¶10. After receiving releases of jurisdiction, plaintiffs commenced this action which asserts seventeen claims arising out of or relating to their employment with defendant.[4]

         9. O'Meara alleges: (1) retaliation in violation of the Connecticut Fair Employment Practices Act (“CFEPA”), Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(4)(Count One); (2) retaliation in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (“Title VII”), 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3, et seq. (Count Two); (3) constructive discharge (Count Three); (4) breach of contract (Count Four); (5) violation of Connecticut's Wage Statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-72, et seq. (Count Five); and (6) unjust enrichment for unpaid earned commissions (Count Six).

         10. Domiziano alleges: (1) sexual harassment in violation of CFEPA, Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(8) (Count Nine); (2) sexual harassment in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3, et seq. (Count Ten); (3) retaliation in violation of CFEPA, Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(4)(Count Thirteen); (4) retaliation in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3, et seq. (Count Fourteen); (5) negligent infliction of emotional distress (Count Fifteen); (6) breach of contract (Count Sixteen); and (7) violation of Connecticut's Wage Statute, Conn. Gen. Stat. §31-72, et seq. (Count Seventeen).

         11. Kruse alleges: (1) sexual harassment in violation of CFEPA, Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(8)(Count Seven); (2) sexual harassment in violation of Title VII, 42 U.S.C. §2000e-3, et seq. (Count Eight); (3) retaliation in violation of CFEPA, Conn. Gen. Stat. §46a-60(4)(Count Eleven); and ...


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