In recent years a five-justice majority of the Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled in favor of arbitration. In 2010, the court handed down its decision in Rent-A-Center, West, Inc., v. Jackson, holding that courts should treat arbitration agreements in the employment context the same as arbitration agreements in commercial contracts. But contrary to the usual business-related dispute where the rights are determined by contract, an employment claim frequently does not arise out of the employment agreement and instead involves rights created by statute.
The plaintiff, Antonio Jackson, sued for alleged racial discrimination and retaliation. Jackson’s employer compelled arbitration, using the arbitration clause in Jackson’s employment agreement. This agreement provided for arbitration of all disputes arising out of Jackson’s employment with Rent-A-Center, including claims for discrimination.