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FARAC v. PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP

January 17, 2002

KAREN P. FARAC, DPM, PLAINTIFF,
V.
PERMANENTE MEDICAL GROUP, ET AL., DEFENDANT.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Breyer, Judge.

ORDER COMPELLING ARBITRATION

Plaintiff Karen Farac ("Farac") brings this sexual harassment and discrimination action against her employer The Permanente Medical Group ("TPMG"), Kaiser Foundation Hospitals, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Kaiser Permanente and doctors Alan Zeichner ("Zeichner") and Steven Seibert ("Seibert").

Defendants TPMG and Seibert move to compel arbitration pursuant to an employment agreement For the reasons stated below, the motion to compel arbitration is GRANTED.

BACKGROUND

TPMG hired Farac in November 1998 as a pool physician in the department of Podiatry. In February of 2001, Farac became a staff podiatric physician. At that time Farac and TPMG entered into a "Podiatric Physician Employment Agreement" The arbitration provision of that agreement stated, in part:

VII. DISPUTE RESOLUTION AND ARBITRATION

A. Scope of Arbitration

In the event of any controversies or disputes between Podiatric Physician and the Medical Group (including its officers, its and employees), which arise in connection with or relate to Podiatric Physician's employment including claims which are based on conduct that occurs after the conclusion of such employment the parties agree that such controversies shall be submitted to final and binding atbitration pursuant to the provisions of California Code of Civil Procedure Section 1280 et seq. (except as expressly excluded below). This agreement includes any claims of employment discrimination and other unlawful conduct such as, but not limited to, claims arising under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Age Discrimination in Employment Act the Equal Pay Act the Rehabilitation Act the Family and Medical Leave Act the California Fair Employment and Housing Act the California labor Code, the California Constitution, the Family Rights Act all as amended, and any other federal, state, county or municipal law or regulation governing the relationship between employers and employees. The parties hereto expressly waive their rights, if any, to have such matter heard by a court or a jury, whether state or federal.

While working as a pool physician, Farac worked under the supervision of defendant Zeichner who was chief of the department of podiatry. Shortly before Farac became a staff podiatrist defendant Seibert became the chief of the department and Farac's direct supervisor.

Farac filed her complaint against defendants on August 22, 2001. The complaint alleges four causes of action under Tide VIII, 42 U.S.C. § 200e et seq., and five violations of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act ("FEHA"). The basis of Farac's complaint is that Zeichner repeatedly harassed Farac physically and verbally for a period of 21 months and that the other defendants knew about the harassment or authorized and ratified the conduct Farac also alleges that she was discriminated and retaliated against for reporting the conduct

Defendants TPMG and Seibert bring this motion to compel arbitration pursuant to the employment agreement

DISCUSSION

In determining whether arbitration should be compelled, the Court must address two separate questions. First, does federal law preclude arbitration of these claims? Second, even if federal law does not generally preclude arbitration of these claims, is this ...


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