Daily Labor Report®

Salesforce Job Bias, Retaliation Case Sent to Arbitration

Dec. 24, 2018, 6:33 PM

A Salesforce.com Inc. employee must arbitrate his claims that the company discriminated against him because of his mental health struggles, a federal judge said Dec. 21.

Stephen Anderson said cloud software firm Salesforce retaliated against him after he raised concerns about the company’s accounting practices, leaving him “emotionally shaken” and on medical leave. Because he signed a valid arbitration agreement, he can’t keep his case in court, Judge Phyllis J. Hamilton said.

Salesforce suspended Anderson instead of accommodating his disability, he said. The company fired Anderson, who is African-American, either because of his whistleblowing or because of racial stereotyping of black men as violent, according to his Nov. 5 complaint.

But the court can’t consider any of Anderson’s claims, according to the order. He signed an arbitration agreement with Salesforce in 2015, and it covers “all claims or controversies,” the judge said, quoting the language of the agreement.

Anderson “had the option to opt out” when he signed, the order said. The agreement “state[d] in bold text” that it wasn’t a mandatory condition of employment at Salesforce, according to the order.

The judge also stayed Anderson’s Sarbanes-Oxley whistleblower retaliation claim, which wasn’t subject to the arbitration agreement, pending completion of arbitration.

Hoyer & Hicks represented Anderson. Gibson Dunn and Crutcher LLP represented Salesforce.

The case is Anderson v. Salesforce.com Inc., N.D. Cal., No. 18-cv-06712, 12/21/18.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jennifer Bennett in Washington at jbennett@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jo-el J. Meyer at jmeyer@bloomberglaw.com

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