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Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co.

710 F.3d 483 (2013)

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Parisi v. Goldman, Sachs & Co.

United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit

710 F.3d 483 (2013)

Facts

Lisa Parisi, Shanna Orlich, and H. Christina Chen-Oster (employees) (plaintiffs) were former employees of Goldman, Sachs & Co. and the Goldman Sachs Group (Goldman Sachs) (defendants). When Parisi was promoted to managing director in 2003, she signed an arbitration agreement stating that any employment-related matters, including termination, would be subject to mandatory, binding arbitration. Goldman Sachs terminated Parisi in 2008. The employees filed suit alleging that Goldman Sachs engaged in a pattern and practice of sex discrimination against female employees regarding compensation, business allocations, promotions, and other terms and conditions of employment in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and local law. Goldman Sachs moved under the Federal Arbitration Act to enforce Parisi’s arbitration agreement, arguing that because the agreement did not explicitly authorize class-wide arbitration, Parisi’s claim must be arbitrated individually. Parisi argued that in signing the agreement, she did not understand it banned class claims and she did not waive her substantive right to challenge systemic discrimination. The magistrate judge found that the arbitration agreement was valid and applied to Parisi’s termination, but because it precluded class-wide arbitration, it prevented Parisi from arbitrating a Title VII pattern-or-practice claim. The agreement thus operated as an impermissible waiver of a substantive right under Title VII. The district court adopted this conclusion and denied the motion to compel arbitration. Goldman Sachs appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Parker, J.)

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