Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Mahe v. Tzell Travel, LLC

United States District Court, S.D. New York

June 8, 2017

NANCY MAHE, Plaintiff,
v.
TZELL TRAVEL, LLC, a/k/a TZELL TRAVEL GROUP, LLC, a/k/a and/or d/b/a TZELL FIFTH AVENUE, LTD and DOLORES SUAREZ, In Her Individual and Official Capacities, Defendants.

          Attorneys for Plaintiff PHILLIPS & ASSOCIATES By: Gregory Calliste, Jr. Esq. Steven Fingerhut, Esq.

          Attorneys for Defendants SEYFARTH SHAW LLP By: Cameron Smith, Esq. Joanne Seltzer, Esq.

          OPINION

          ROBERT W. SWEET, U.S.D.J.

         Defendants Tzell Travel, LLC ("Tzell Travel"), Tzell Fifth Avenue, Ltd. ("TFA"), and Dolores Suarez ("Suarez") (collectively, the "Defendants") have moved to dismiss the complaint of the Plaintiff Nancy Mahe ("Mahe" or the "Plaintiff") (the "Complaint") pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6) or Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(c) and to compel arbitration pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act ("FAA"), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.

         Based on the conclusions set forth below, Defendants' motion is granted in part and denied in part. The action is stayed and the parties are directed to proceed to arbitration.

         I. Facts

         The Complaint sets forth the following allegations, which are assumed true for the purpose of this motion to dismiss. See Koch v. Christie's Int'1 PLC, 699 F.3d 141, 145 (2d Cir. 2012).

         From approximately June 1996 through July 2016, Plaintiff worked for Defendants as a travel agent. (Compl. ¶¶ 18, 43, Dkt. 4.) While employed by Defendants, Plaintiff regularly would overhear Suarez, Plaintiffs manager, make derogatory remarks about Hispanics, African-Americans, and immigrants. (See Compl. ¶¶ 24-38.) Plaintiff initially kept silent during such incidents for fear of retribution or termination. (Compl. ¶ 27.)

         In July 2016, after another such incident, Plaintiff emailed Suarez to inform her that Plaintiff thought Suarez's comments created a "hostile work environment." (Compl. ¶ 41.). Within forty-five of Plaintiff's email, Suarez fired Plaintiff. (Compl. ¶ 4 3.)

         As a result of the termination, Plaintiff was offered a severance agreement, (see Declaration of Cameron Smith dated February 7, 2017 ("Cameron Decl."), Ex. B (the "Agreement")), which contained a "severance payment of $20, 000 (minus applicable taxes and withholdings)" along with three weeks' salary and medical benefits. (Agreement ¶¶ 2, 4; see Compl. ¶ 49-50.) After reviewing the Agreement and communicating with Defendants about its terms, Plaintiff accepted the offer and signed. (Compl. ¶¶ 51-53.) The Agreement stated it became "immediately binding and enforceable upon execution by Employee." (Agreement ¶ 17.)

         As part of the Agreement, Plaintiff agreed to cooperate "in the orderly transition of her duties and responsibilities." (Agreement ¶ 7(g).) Plaintiff also agreed to a general release clause for all of her claims against Defendants arising out of "Employee's relationship with the Company, or the termination of Employee's relationship with the Company." (Agreement ¶ 5.)

         The Agreement also contained an arbitration clause where the Parties mutually agreed that "any dispute arising between the Parties under this Agreement, under any statute, regulation or ordinance, under any employment agreement, offer letter or other agreement, and/or in connection with the Employee's employment or termination thereof shall be submitted to binding arbitration" for resolution on a strictly confidential basis. (Agreement ¶ 11.)

         In the event of a material breach of the Agreement by Plaintiff, the Agreement provided that TFA would have no further obligations to Plaintiff under the Agreement and would be entitled to recoup the amounts paid to Plaintiff pursuant to the Agreement, plus reasonable attorneys' fees and costs incurred in recouping such amounts, (Agreement ¶ 12(a)-(b)); in addition, all of Plaintiff's promises, covenants, representations, and warranties would remain in full force and effect. (Agreement ¶ 12(d).)

         After signing the Agreement, Defendants wired Plaintiff $12, 352.92 to her bank account. (Compl. ¶ 55.) Plaintiff emailed Defendants indicating she believed there had been error in payment to her, which Defendants said they would investigate. (Compl. ¶ 55.) Shortly thereafter, Defendants requested Plaintiff return to Defendants' office to train Suarez on aspects of Plaintiff's job, which Plaintiff refused because she continued to view the environment as hostile. (Compl. ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.