Becky Sharp and Sydney Carton applied to become administrative assistants for Gizmo, Inc. (GI). After the interviewing process, both were hired and asked to sign contracts that contained the same provision: “If there is any dispute as to employment practiced or employee/employer actions, this dispute will be decided via binding arbitration.”
Both signed the contract after being given ample time to review it and to consult an attorney. Several months later, Sydney became addicted to cocaine, and Becky became pregnant with her first child. When Becky experienced complications during her pregnancy, GI initially agreed to grant her medical leave, but shortly thereafter the company informed Becky that her position had been eliminated due to a “reorganization.”
Fearing that Sydney might have trouble picking up the slack for the recently released Becky, GI asked him to take a surprise drug test. Sydney was confused and alarmed and refused to take the test. GI informed him that because of his refusal, he was fired. Becky decided to file a lawsuit in state court under the state and federal Family and Medical Leave Acts that guarantee pregnant women a set number of weeks off for pregnancy. Sydney, on the other hand, submitted his case to an arbitrator.