United States District Court, S.D. New York
OPINION AND ORDER
PAUL OETKEN, DISTRICT JUDGE.
an employment discrimination case. Plaintiff Julio Abel,
proceeding pro se, claims that Defendant All Green
Building Services of New York, LLC, discriminated against him
on the basis of his religion. All Green moves to dismiss,
arguing that Abel's collective bargaining agreement
requires him to arbitrate this dispute. Alternatively, All
Green seeks to stay the case pending arbitration proceedings.
For the reasons that follow, the motion to compel arbitration
is granted, the motion to dismiss is denied, and the case is
Green is a building maintenance provider. Abel worked for All
Green as a cleaner. Abel's employment was terminated in
2016. Abel alleges that All Green discriminated against him
on the basis of his religion, in violation of Title VII of
the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and New York City
his employment, Abel was a member of Local 32BJ Service
Employees International Union. (Dkt. No. 17 at 2.) That union
and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations, Inc.
(“RAB”), a multi-employer bargaining group of
which All Green was a member, were parties to a collective
bargaining agreement (“CBA”). (Id. at
provides, in relevant part, that:
There shall be no discrimination against any present or
future employee by reason of race, creed, color, age,
disability, national origin, sex, union membership, or any
characteristic protected by law, including, but not limited
to, claims made pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act
. . . the New York City Human Rights Code . . . or any other
similar laws, rules or regulations. All such claims shall be
subject to the grievance and arbitration procedure (Articles
V and VI) as the sole and exclusive remedy for violations.
Arbitrators shall apply appropriate law in rendering
decisions based upon claims of discrimination.
Id. at 4.
Green argues that this provision requires Abel to arbitrate
his claims rather than sue in federal court. All Green
therefore seeks dismissal of this case, or, alternatively,
that the case be stayed so that the parties can arbitrate. In
a letter to the Court, Abel asserts that he already tried to
go through the union's grievance procedures, including
settlement discussions, but that he did not find the union to
be responsive to his needs. (Dkt. No. 18.)
deciding a motion to compel arbitration, a reviewing
court's evaluation is limited to: “i) whether a
valid agreement or obligation to arbitrate exists, and ii)
whether one party to the agreement has failed, neglected or
refused to arbitrate.” LAIF X SPRL v.
Axtel, S.A. de C.V., 390 F.3d 194, 198 (2d Cir. 2004).
Where these requirements are met, the court must
“[direct] the parties to proceed to arbitration in
accordance with the terms of the agreement.” 9 U.S.C.
must also afford pro se plaintiffs “special
solicitude” before granting motions to dismiss.
Ruotolo v. I.R.S., 28 F.3d 6, 8 (2d Cir. 1994).
“‘A document filed pro se is to be
liberally construed, ' and a ‘pro se
complaint, however inartfully pleaded, must be held to less
stringent standards than formal pleadings drafted by
lawyers.'” Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S.
89, 94 (2007) (quoting Estelle v. Gamble, 429 U.S.
97, 106 (1976)).
deciding this case, the Court is guided by two binding
precedents: the United States Supreme Court's opinion in
14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 556 U.S. 247 (2009), and
the Second Circuit's ...