• U.S. District Court
  • 3:12cv964
  • Apr 02 2014 (Date Decided)
  • Haight, J.

An arbitrator can enforce a 90-day statute of limitations in connection with an employee’s arbitration claim, even if the parties’ dispute resolution contract purports to preserve the parties’ substantive rights. In 2005, the defendant employer hired the plaintiff, Vernon Anthony. The following year, Anthony signed a contract and agreed to use arbitration to resolve employment disputes “relating to or arising out of a current, former or potential employment relationship with the Company.” On Jan. 31, 2009, the defendant discharged Anthony, and he filed complaints that alleged discrimination on the basis of race with the Connecticut Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. On Feb. 11 and 15, 2011, the CHRO and the EEOC released their jurisdiction. On June 15, 2011, Anthony filed a request for arbitration. The arbitrator found that Anthony did not timely request arbitration, within 90 days of the release of jurisdiction, and granted the defendant’s motion to dismiss. Anthony filed a civil complaint and alleged that the arbitrator exceeded her authority when she enforced the 90-day statute of limitations, because the dispute resolution contract was not intended to affect the parties’ substantive rights. Although public policy favors the enforcement of arbitration awards, the District Court can vacate an arbitration award if an arbitrator exceeds her authority or on the basis of corruption, fraud or partiality. Courts have held that statutes of limitations are within the scope of arbitrators’ authority. The dispute resolution contract provides that the parties may not expand the “applicable time period in which to bring claims.” The arbitrator did not exceed the scope of her claims when she dismissed the plaintiff’s claims because the plaintiff failed to request arbitration timely, within 90 days. The court denied the plaintiff’s motion to vacate the arbitration award and granted the defendant’s motion to confirm.