New Jersey employers seeking to compel arbitration secured a big win earlier this month when a federal judge ruled that former employees agreed to an arbitration agreement by clicking on a hyperlink sent to them by their employer. The judge decided in favor of the employer even though the employer could not prove that the employees read or understood the terms of the agreement.
“Plaintiffs’ argument that clicking on the hyperlink does not prove they read or fully understood the terms of the Arbitration Agreement is irrelevant,” Judge Martinotti said in his written opinion. “A party is ‘bound by the hyperlinked agreement, even if that party did not review the terms and conditions of the hyperlinked agreement before assenting to them.'”
Notably, the arbitration agreement required employees who did not consent to the Arbitration Agreement to affirmatively opt out of the arbitration process by a certain deadline. The employees failed to do so, and are now required to arbitrate their employment-related claims.
This decision is consistent with rulings in other jurisdictions that an “opt out” process is sufficient to prove consent in certain scenarios.
The case is Horowitz et al. v. AT&T Inc. et al, case number 3:17-cv-04827, in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey.