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Dismuke v. One Main Financial, Inc.

United States District Court, S.D. Mississippi, Northern Division

July 20, 2015

TANJIALA C. DISMUKE, Plaintiff,
v.
ONE MAIN FINANCIAL, INC., Defendant.

MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

CARLTON W. REEVES, District Judge.

This cause comes before the Court on Defendant OneMain Financial, Inc.'s ("OneMain") Motion to Dismiss and to Compel Arbitration. Docket No. 9. Plaintiff Tanjiala C. Dismuke has responded, Docket No. 11, to which Defendant submitted a reply, Docket No. 13. After considering the arguments and applicable authorities, Defendant's Motion is granted.

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On September 12, 1994, Dismuke, an African-American female, was hired at a OneMain Financial Branch[1] in Columbus, Mississippi.[2] Compl. at 2, Docket No. 1, at 2. Upon being hired, Dismuke was given OneMain's U.S. Employee Handbook ("Employee Handbook") and the Principles of Employment. Def's Mem. in Supp. of Mot. to Dis. and to Compel Arbitration, Docket No. 10, at 2. Attached as Appendix A to the Employee Handbook was the Employment Arbitration Policy ("Arbitration Agreement"), which states that employees must comply with its terms as a condition of employment, and that an employee's continued employment constitutes acceptance of the Arbitration Agreement. Docket No. 9-2, at 5, "Arbitration Agreement" at pp. 53.

The arbitration agreement specifically provides:

This Policy applies to both you and to Citi, and makes arbitration the required and exclusive forum for the resolution of all employment-related disputes.... These disputes include, without limitation, claims, demands, or actions under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964... and any other federal, state, or local statute, regulation, or common-law doctrine regarding employment [and/or] employment discrimination."

Arbitration Agreement at pp. 53. In addition, OneMain's Employee Handbook contained the following:

Arbitration
This Handbook contains a policy that requires you and Citi to submit employment-related disputes to binding arbitration (see Appendix A). Please read it carefully.

OneMain's Employee Handbook, Docket No. 9-4, at 3. Dismuke electronically signed acknowledgment of this Handbook on several occasions-including in 2009, 2011, and 2013- indicating an agreement to submit any employment-related disputes to arbitration. See Docket No. 9-5.

In her Complaint, Dismuke alleges that she was not allowed the opportunity to apply for a Branch Manager position because she was placed on final written warning. Compl. at 2. Under some circumstances, this would not justify court involvement, but Dismuke also alleges that two of her colleagues, Sherri Swanson and Heather Vizgard-both Caucasian females-were removed from final warning so that they would have the opportunity to apply for the Branch Manager position. Id. Dismuke's colleagues were removed from final warning by the District Manager, James "Roger" Moore. On June 1, 2014, Vizgard was given the Branch Manager position.

Dismuke filed a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which issued her a notice of right to sue upon her request. Dismuke then filed the instant action arguing that she was discriminated against by OneMain because of her race, "in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and 42 U.S.C. ยง 1981."

II. Legal Standard

Section 2 of the Federal Arbitration Act (the ...


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