Courts and ADR

 Courts and ADR

Ben Watson works as a project manager at the corporate headquarters of Jabil Circuits in St. Petersburg, Florida. Watson regularly spends time on the office computer surfing the Internet for sports news and playing his favorite slot machine games with the sound muted. Watson usually sends personal e-mails from his own Gmail account, but he occasionally uses his Jabil account when he is too lazy to access his personal account. 

The manager of human resources, Freda Fitch, called Watson into her office on Friday afternoon, where he was asked about the emails sent to friends containing jokes of a sexual nature. The director also questioned him about the use of the Internet to play slot machines and other computer games. Watson was terminated for violating provisions of the employee handbook and escorted out of the building.

The employee handbook contained standard provisions explaining that company property, including computers, email, software and access to the Internet, were for business purposes and employee use was subject to monitoring. The company policy also prohibited any form of sexual harassment, discrimination, violence and other illegal acts, which includes transmitting such information by computer.  Violations of the stated policies include disciplinary action that may result in termination.  The handbook also contained a provision that required all disputes arising from the employment relationship that cannot be resolved internally to be resolved through the alternative dispute resolution process of mediation.

  • Since Watson believes he was wrongfully terminated and various rights were violated, he plans to consult with a lawyer and sue his employer. What are Watson’s options concerning resolution of his claims through the court or ADR?