United States District Court, E.D. Pennsylvania
BRADLEY G. DARRINGTON and VAL DARRINGTON, Plaintiffs,
MILTON HERSHEY SCHOOL, Defendant.
J. PAPPERT, J.
and Val Darrington sued the Milton Hershey School for
religious discrimination and retaliation in violation of
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the
Pennsylvania Human Relations Act. The School moved to compel
arbitration pursuant to the terms of a collective bargaining
agreement between the School and Plaintiffs' union. The
Court ordered limited discovery on the arbitrability of
Plaintiffs' claims. See (ECF No. 20). After
completing limited discovery, the School renewed its Motion,
which the Court denies for the reasons that follow.
Hershey School hired Plaintiffs as full-time houseparents in
May of 2013. (Compl. ¶ 22); see also (Pls.'
Resps. Def.'s Req. Admis. ¶ 1, ECF No. 21-3 at 42,
52). While employed by the School, Plaintiffs were members of
the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain
Millers International Local Union 464 (“the
Union”). (Pls.' Resps. Def.'s Req. Admis.
¶ 6, ECF No. 21-3 at 43, 53). The Collective Bargaining
Agreement between the Union and the School states that
“[t]he School recognizes the Union as the exclusive
collective bargaining representative for all fulltime
houseparents . . . employed by the School . . . regarding
wages, hours and other terms and conditions of
employment.” (Collective Bargaining Agreement
(“CBA”) § 2.1, ECF No. 21-3 at 9).
contains a non-discrimination provision:
The Union and the School will not discriminate against
employees or applicants on the basis of race, color,
religion, age (40 and above), sex, national origin,
disability status, and membership or non-membership in the
Union. The School reserves the right to expand, contract,
amend or otherwise modify its policies on non-discrimination
to meet its legal obligations. The School will notify the
Union of any changes in policy related to discrimination
before announcing them to the workforce.
(CBA § 10.1.) The CBA also contains a four-step
grievance procedure culminating in mandatory arbitration:
Grievance and Arbitration Procedure.
“Grievance” is defined as any dispute arising out
of the terms and conditions of this Agreement, including, but
not limited to, the discipline or discharge of any
non-probationary member of the bargaining unit. The School
and the Union also agree that a grievance hereunder includes
any dispute alleging discrimination against any
employee(s) in the bargaining unit based upon membership in
any protected categories under federal or state law and/or as
set forth in Section 10.1 of this Agreement. Nothing
herein prevents an allegedly aggrieved employee(s) from
filing a charge or complaint of discrimination involving the
same dispute or controversy as the grievance with any state
or federal administrative agency and the grievance may, at
the parties' option, be held in abeyance while the
administrative agency processes the charge or complaint. The
parties further agree, however, that the Union, on behalf of
itself and the allegedly aggrieved employee(s), waives,
releases and discharges any right to institute or
maintain any private lawsuit alleging employment
discrimination in any state or federal court regarding the
matters encompassed within this grievance procedure. . .
. All grievances must be handled as provided in this
Article, which sets forth the exclusive procedure for
resolution of disputes arising out of the terms and
conditions of this Agreement or the discipline or discharge
of any non-probationary member of the bargaining unit.
(Id. at § 9.1 (emphasis added).)
is generally a presumption of arbitrability under collective
bargaining agreements because arbitrators are in a better
position than courts to interpret the terms of a CBA. See
Wright v. Universal Mar. Serv. Corp., 525 U.S. 70, 78
(1998) (citing AT & T Techs., Inc. v. Commc'ns
Workers, 475 U.S. 643, 650 (1986) and Steelworkers
v. Warrior & Gulf Nav. Co., 363 U.S. 574, 581-82
(1960)). Where, however, a dispute “ultimately concerns
not the application or interpretation of [a] CBA, but the
meaning of a federal statute, ” it is not subject to
the presumption of arbitration. Id. at 78-79
(finding petitioner's statutory employment discrimination
claim not subject to the presumption of ...