Forced arbitration has become more and more prevalent. In the work place, many employers provide an orientation which occurs online. So, forced arbitration often requires the new employee to agree (or not) to forced arbitration online. What happens if the employee does not sign the forced arbitration agreement? And, what happens if an employee does not recall if s/he signed the forced arbitration agreement? In Aerotek, Inc. v. Boyd, the district court denied a motion to compel arbitration. On appeal, the Dallas court of appeals found that was not error. The four employees denied having seen or consented to any forced arbitration agreement. The employer submitted forced arbitration agreements with claimed digital signatures for each of the four employees. But, the four plaintiffs insisted they never saw the agreement. The employer’s IT experts could not testify that it was impossible to complete the in “onboarding” process without signing the forced arbitration agreement. According to the IT experts, it was not impossible for an employee to not sign the forced arbitration agreements.

The Dallas court of appeals noted the decision in Kmart Stores of Texas v. Ramirez, 510 S.W.3d 559, 565 (Tex.App. El Paso 2016), which found that an electronic signature does not conclusive show agreement, especially when confronted by sworn denials. And, Aerotek admitted that a third party vendor created the onboarding process and it did not produce a witness from that third party vendor.

See the decision in Aerotek, Inc. v. Boyd, No. 05-18-00579 (Tex.App. Dallas 8/27/2019), here.