MBJ Victory: Arbitration of Discrimination Claim

This month, Morgan, Brown & Joy prevailed on behalf of its client in a private arbitration case involving a former senior systems engineer at Oracle Corporation who alleged gender discrimination and breach of contract. After successfully moving to enforce a private arbitration agreement signed by the employee upon the commencement of her employment, the case was tried before Arbitrator Joan Dolan in a five-day hearing.

The Claimant had taken maternity leave during a period in which her performance had started to come under criticism. One element of the criticism involved the Claimant’s lack of accessibility and her abuse of telecommuting privileges. Shortly after the Claimant returned from maternity leave, her managers determined that her performance issues could be addressed by requiring her to work at the office, and revoked her telecommuting privileges. When the Claimant learned that she would no longer be permitted to telecommute, she resigned.

Oracle argued that the revocation of Claimant’s telecommuting privileges was a legitimate, nondiscriminatory response to serious performance issues that had arisen prior to her maternity leave. To further rebut any inference of gender discrimination, Oracle presented testimony of female employees who had taken maternity leave in recent years, successfully returned to their jobs, and received a signficant degree of support and encouragement from the same managers who Claimant accused of harboring a discriminatory bias against childbearing women.

The arbitrator found that there was no evidence of gender discrimination, and also found no basis for Claimant’s breach of contract claim. Accordingly, the case was dismissed in its entirety.

Gregory A. Manousos represented Oracle Corporation.