United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
G. KOELTL, District Judge
plaintiff, Kristin Rightnour, sued Tiffany and Company
(“Tiffany”) for religious discrimination and
retaliation under federal and local law. Tiffany petitions
for an order to stay this action and compel the plaintiff to
arbitrate the dispute pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act
(“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. §§ 3, 4. This Court
has jurisdiction pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1332(a)(1).
following facts are taken from the parties' submissions.
began working for Tiffany as the Director of Marketing in
October 2013. Compl. ¶ 12. In April 2014 Rightnour, a
practicing Catholic, had a conversation with two other
employees, one of whom is Jewish. Id. ¶ 14.
Allegedly at the Jewish colleague's request, Rightnour
“explained the crucifixion story.” Id.
¶ 15. At the end of 2014, a human resources manager from
Tiffany allegedly informed Rightnour that Tiffany had
received a complaint from one of Rightnour's coworkers
that Rightnour had stated that “the Jewish people
killed Jesus.” Id. ¶ 17. Rightnour denied
making the statement but also explained that she is a devout
Catholic and that the views she expressed to her colleagues
are standard Catholic beliefs. Id. ¶ 18.
Tiffany issued the plaintiff a formal warning and informed
her that it would withhold her entire 2014 bonus.
Id. ¶¶ 19-20. Tiffany also made the
plaintiff ineligible for a merit increase or transfer for a
period of one year. Id. ¶ 20.
response, in December 2014, through counsel, the plaintiff
complained to Tiffany's legal department that she had
been subject to unlawful religious discrimination.
Id. ¶ 21; Coleman Decl. in Opp. to Mot. Exs. A,
B. She alleges that months later, in March 2015, Tiffany
retaliated against her by issuing a negative performance
review to her. Compl. ¶ 22. The following month, on
April 22, 2015, Rightnour filed a charge of discrimination
with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
(“EEOC”) alleging religious discrimination and
retaliation in violation of federal, state, and local
antidiscrimination laws. Id. ¶ 24; Coleman
Decl. Ex. C. The plaintiff alleges that two days later,
Tiffany informed her that it would not be promoting her to
the newly-established position of Group Director of Brand
Management, and instead promoted an individual that Rightnour
claims was significantly less qualified than she. Compl.
February 2015, Tiffany sent Rightnour and other Tiffany
employees a form email with the subject line “You have
been enrolled in the Dispute Resolution Agreement
course.” Rodriguez Decl. in Supp. of Mot. Ex. 2. That
Hi Kristin Rightnour
Tiffany and Company is providing employees with dispute
resolution agreements, which offer the resolution of
employment-related disputes through arbitration. You
will be provided with a Dispute Resolution Agreement in the
attached learning module.
Please click on the link below to review the Dispute
Resolution Agreement and acknowledge the receipt of the
Agreement at your earliest convenience.
[hyperlink titled “Dispute Resolution Agreement”]
If you have any questions regarding this matter, please
contact your local Human Resources Generalist.
Rodriguez Decl. Ex. 2 (first emphasis added, second emphasis
in original). Rightnour alleges that she “did not
review, nor did any person at Tiffany ever personally ask
[her] to review” the Dispute Resolution Agreement at
that time. Rightnour Decl. ¶ 2. Tiffany sent emails to
Rightnour throughout March and April which were identical to
the one sent in February, and then on April 13 sent the
following personalized email:
On February 27, 2015, you received an e-mail notifying you of
Tiffany and Company's Dispute Resolution Agreement and
inviting you to participate in a related learning module. As
explained in the learning module, you are subject to the
terms of the Dispute Resolution Agreement.
For your convenience, we have attached a link to the
[hyperlink to Dispute Resolution Agreement]. The learning
module will reside in Self Service.
If you have any questions, please contact your Human
Resources Generalist. Do not ...