Hobby Lobby seeks to compel arbitration in suit filed by St. Charles County woman

By Charmaine Little | Sep 14, 2018

ST. LOUIS – On Sept. 6, Hobby Lobby asked a U.S. district court to order one of its former employees to undergo arbitration after it was accused of violating the Missouri Human Rights Act.

Hobby Lobby filed its petition to compel arbitration and for related injunctive relief with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri in the Eastern Division. Its request comes amid one of its ex-workers, Jacqueline Bachman, filing a lawsuit against it.

The company hopes to compel Bachman to file her claims via arbitration, which it alleges is required under the mutual arbitration agreement she signed when she was hired. It also hopes the court will block Bachman from bringing the claims, or any claims for that matter, to another circuit court. This includes a previous lawsuit she filed with another individual.

The petition states Bachman resides in St. Charles County and was employed by Hobby Lobby from July 2016 to July 2017.

Bachman accused Hobby Lobby of infringing on her rights under the MHRA and requested compensatory damages for lost salary, benefits and other monetary losses and emotional distress and emotional and physical damages, plus attorneys’ fees.

In its petition, Hobby Lobby says the arbitration agreement states, “[Y]ou and the company agree binding arbitration is the sole and exclusive means to resolve all disputes that may arise out of, or be related to, your employment with the company… you and the company each specifically waive and relinquish the respect right to sue each other in a court of law.” 

Considering this, Hobby Lobby said Bachman’s failure to submit her claims via arbitration violates the agreement. It said Bachman believes the agreement isn’t enforceable.

Hobby Lobby also asked for a stay on all proceedings in its current action pending a decision from the arbitrator as well as to be awarded all attorneys’ fees and costs for bringing the petitions.  

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