During the time Plaintiffs Aldrich and Nolan worked as recruiters for the University of Phoenix, they allegedly signed an electronic form acknowledging their understanding of updated terms to the employee handbook. The acknowledgment form included an arbitration clause, and the updated employee handbook contained a class action waiver. Thereafter, both Aldrich and Nolan continued to work for the University of Phoenix for almost two years and were eventually let go. They later brought claims for wrongful termination on account of their refusal to engage in allegedly unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent practices related to recruiting veterans and service members. The trial court granted the University of Phoenix’s motion to dismiss and compel arbitration. Although Aldrich and Nolan asserted that they never received or signed the acknowledgement form, the court reasoned that under Kentucky law, continued employment constituted assent to the terms of the agreement. Moreover, the court held that there was no dispute of material fact entitling plaintiffs to a jury trial on the issue of whether they in fact signed, and because the arbitration agreement was valid, the waiver provision was valid as well.
On appeal, Sixth Circuit affirmed, reiterating Kentucky law holding that “an employee can be bound by an arbitration agreement, even without a signature, when he or she demonstrates acceptance of the agreement by continuing to work for the employer.” Aldrich v. University of Phoenix, Inc., Case No. 16-5276 (6th Cir. Oct. 24, 2016).