United States District Court, S.D. New York
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
Kevin Castel United States District Judge.
Ebony Armstead alleges that defendant Starbucks Corporation
(“Starbucks”) had a policy of “time
shaving” employee hours, in violation of the Fair Labor
Standards Act, 29 U.S.C. § 201, et seq.
(“FLSA”), and the New York Labor Law
(“NYLL”). According to Armstead, while employed
by Starbucks as a barista, she was required to clock out at a
fixed time but to continue working without compensation. She
alleges that Starbucks required her to work approximately 9.5
uncompensated hours each week.
moves to stay proceedings and compel arbitration. According
to Starbucks, during the hiring process, Armstead
electronically signed an arbitration agreement (the
“Arbitration Agreement”) that requires her claims
to be decided by an arbitrator. Starbucks moves to compel
arbitration and stay proceedings pursuant to the Federal
Arbitration Act (“FAA”), 9 U.S.C. § 1,
et seq. It also seeks to dismiss Armstead's
allegations in support of a collective or class action for
lack of subject matter jurisdiction pursuant to Rule
12(b)(1), Fed. R. Civ. P.
reasons that will be explained, the motion to compel
arbitration and stay this proceeding is granted. The motion
to dismiss plaintiffs' allegations related to her
putative class action and collective action claims is denied
without prejudice. BACKGROUND.
alleges that in or about May 2015, Starbucks hired her to
work as a barista at its branch on Waverly Place and Sixth
Avenue in Greenwich Village. (Amended Complaint (the
“Complaint”) ¶ 22.) She occasionally was
assigned to shifts at other Starbucks locations in the nearby
Chelsea neighborhood. (Compl't ¶ 23.)
to Armstead, she worked from approximately 4 p.m. to 2 a.m.
five days a week, and from 4 p.m. until 12:30 a.m. two days
per week. (Compl't ¶ 24.) Armstead asserts that
management required employees to clock out of work at 11:30
p.m., but to continue working off the clock until the shift
ended. (Compl't ¶ 25.) Armstead alleges that she
worked approximately 9.5 uncompensated hours every work week,
and that Starbucks failed to pay overtime for hours worked in
excess of 40 per week. (Compl't ¶¶ 25-26.) The
Complaint includes allegations in support of collective
action certification under the FLSA and class action
certification for Armstead's NYLL claims. (Agrm't
The Starbucks Arbitration Agreement.
moves to compel arbitration, stay this action, and dismiss
Armstead's allegations in support of a class action and
collective action. (Docket # 27.) Starbucks annexes a copy of
the Arbitration Agreement that it contends governs
Armstead's claims. (Kennedy Dec. Ex. G.) The Agreement
states in part:
Mutual Agreement to Arbitrate. Starbucks and I agree
to use binding individual arbitration to resolve any
“Covered Claims” that arise between me and
Starbucks, its subsidiaries and related companies . . . .
“Covered Claims” are those brought under any
statute, local ordinance, or common law relating to my
employment, including those concerning any element of
compensation, harassment, discrimination, retaliation,
recovery of bonus or relocation benefits, leaves of absence,
accommodations, or termination of employment.
Except as provided herein, I understand and agree
that arbitration is the only forum for resolving Covered
claims, and that both Starbucks and I waive the right to a
trial before a judge or jury in federal or state
court. . . .
Except as provided below, Starbucks and I agree that the
Arbitrator - and not a court or agency - shall have exclusive
authority to resolve any dispute regarding the formation,
interpretation, applicability, enforceability, or
implementation of this Agreement, including any claim that
all or part of this Agreement is void or voidable.
(Kennedy Dec. Ex. G; emphasis in original.)
Agreement also waives a plaintiff's ability to bring
claims in a class or collective action. (Kennedy Dec. Ex. G.)
It excludes certain categories of claims from arbitration,
including those involving workers' compensation or
unemployment benefits, charges with the Equal Employment
Opportunity Commission and similar agencies, or actions to
enforce or vacate an arbitration award. (Kennedy Dec. Ex. G.)
It also sets forth procedures to be used during arbitration
and for the selection of an arbitrator. (Kennedy Dec. Ex. G.)
the [FAA] ‘[a] written provision in . . . a contract .
. . to settle by arbitration a controversy thereafter arising
out of such contract . . . shall be valid, irrevocable, and
enforceable.'” Meyer v. Uber Techs., Inc.,
868 F.3d 66, 73 (2d Cir. 2017) (quoting 9 U.S.C. § 2).
“[P]arties can petition the district court for an order
directing that ‘arbitration proceed in the manner
provided for in such agreement.'” Nicosia v.
Amazon.com, Inc., 834 F.3d 220, 229 (2d Cir. 2016)
(quoting 9 U.S.C. § 4). “The district court must
stay proceedings once it is ‘satisfied that the parties
have agreed in writing to arbitrate an issue or issues
underlying the district court proceeding.'”
Nicosia, 834 F.3d at 229 (citing WorldCrisa
Corp. v. Armstrong, 129 F.3d 71, 74 (2d Cir. 1997)).
an agreement to arbitrate can be enforced, the district court
must first determine whether such agreement exists between
the parties. This question is determined by state contract
law.” Meyer, 868 F.3d at 73-74 (citing
Nicosia, 834 F.3d at 229; see also PaineWebber
Inc. v. Bybyk, 81 F.3d 1193, 1198 (2d Cir. 1996)
(“in interpreting an arbitration ...