The company (which includes jointly and separately the National Veterinary Associates, Inc. (“NVA”) and any parents, subsidiaries, affiliates and/or related entities) and I mutually understand, contract and agree, through this “Arbitration Agreement,” any and all claims and/or disputes; past, present, or future, between me and the company, arising out of or related to my application and not by way of court of jury trial. The Arbitrator shall be selected by mutual agreement of the company and me. Unless the company and I mutually agree otherwise, the Arbitrator shall be an attorney licensed to practice in the location where the arbitration proceeding will be conducted. If for any reason the parties cannot agree to the Arbitrator, either party may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction with authority over the location where the arbitration will be conducted for appointment of a neutral Arbitrator. The court shall then appoint an arbitrator, who shall act under this agreement with the same force and effect as if the parties had selected the arbitrator by mutual agreement. The location of the arbitration proceeding shall be no more than 45 miles from and in the same state where I applied and/or last worked for the company, unless each party to the arbitration agrees in writing otherwise. The Federal Arbitration Act (9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq.) shall apply to this Arbitration Agreement.
Except for claims that are excluded below, this Arbitration Agreement applies to any and all covered claims and/or disputes the company may have against me or that I may have against: (1) the company, (2) its or their officers, directors, employees, or agents in their capacity as such or otherwise, and (3) all successors and assigns of any of them. Disputes subject to this Arbitration Agreement include without limitation to disputes with any entity or individual arising out of or related to the application for employment (including denial of that application), background checks, privacy, contracts, trade secrets, unfair competition, compensation, classification, minimum wage, seating, expense reimbursement, overtime, breaks and rest periods, retaliation, discrimination, or harassment and claims arising under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, Defend Trace Secrets Act, Title Vll of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 1981, the Rehabilitation Act, the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, the Civil Rights Act of 1991, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Equal Pay Act, Americans With Disabilities Act, Age Discrimination in Employment Act, Family Medical Leave Act, Fair Labor Standards Act, Employee Retirement Income Security Act (except for claims for employee benefits under any benefit plan sponsored by the company and (a) covered by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 or (b) funded by insurance), Affordable Care Act, Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act, Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act, Older Workers Benefits Protection Act of 1990, Occupational Safety and Health Act, Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1985, False Claims Act, state or local statues or regulations addressing the same or similar subject matters, and all other federal, state or local statutory and legal claims (including without limitation torts) arising out of or relating to my application for employment or denial of that application. Further, covered claims and/or disputes include any claim or controversy regarding this Arbitration Agreement or any portion of the Arbitration Agreement or any portion of it is void or voidable, with the exception noted in the Class Action Waiver below.
The following claims and/or disputes are not covered under this Arbitration Agreement: (i) Workers’ Compensation benefit claims; (ii) state unemployment or disability insurance compensation claims; (iii) claims for benefits under employee benefit plans covered by ERISA that contain an appeal procedure or other exclusive and/or binding dispute resolution procedure in the respective plan; (iv) claims under the National Labor Relations Act within the jurisdiction of the National Labor Relations Board; (v) claims that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 111-203) or as provided by another Act of Congress are not arbitrable under this Agreement. Regardless of any other terms of this Arbitration Agreement, a claim may be brought before and remedies awarded by an administrative agency if, and only if, applicable law permits the agency to adjudicate the claim notwithstanding the existence of an agreement to arbitrate. Such administrative claims include without limitation claims or charges brought before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (www.eeoc.gov), the U.S. Department of Labor (www.dol.gov), the National Labor Relations Board (www.nlrb.gov), the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (www.dol.gov/esa/ofccp) and law enforcement authorities. I understand the company will not retaliate against me for filing such a charge. Nothing in this Agreement also does not prevent federal administrative agencies from adjudicating claims and awarding remedies based on those claims, even if the claims would otherwise be covered by this Agreement. Nothing in this Agreement prevents or excuses a party from satisfying any conditions precedent and/or exhausting administrative remedies under applicable law before bringing a claim in arbitration. I understand and acknowledge that the company will not retaliate against me for filing a claim with an administrative agency or for exercising rights (individually or in concert with others) under Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
Class Action Waiver: Private Attorney General representative actions under the California Labor Code are not covered by this Agreement, not arbitrable, and may be maintained in a court of law, but individual claims I bring for recovery of unpaid wages shall be subject to this Agreement. I understand this Agreement affects my ability to participate in class or collective actions. Both the company and I agree to bring any dispute in arbitration on an individual basis only, and not on a class or collective basis. There will no right or authority for any dispute to be brought, heard or arbitrated as a class or collective action, or as a member in any such class or collective proceeding (“Class Action Waiver”). Notwithstanding any other provision of this Agreement, disputes regarding the validity, enforceability of breach of the Class Action Waiver may be resolved only by a civil court of competent jurisdiction and not by an arbitrator. In any case in which (1) the dispute is filed as a class or collective action and (2) there is a final judicial determination that all or part of the Class Action Waiver unenforceable, the class and/or collective action to that extent must be litigated in a civil court of competent jurisdiction, but the portion of the Class Action Waiver that is enforceable shall be enforced in arbitration.
I understand and acknowledge and the company agrees that I will not be retaliated against, disciplined or threatened with discipline as a result of filling of or participation in a class or collective action in any forum. However, I understand the company may lawfully seek enforcement of this Agreement and the Class Action Waiver under the Federal Arbitration Act and seek dismissal of such class or collective actions or claims. Notwithstanding any other clause contained in this Agreement, any claim in court or arbitration that all or part of the Class Action Waiver is invalid, unenforceable, unconscionable, void or voidable may be determined only by a court and not by an arbitrator.
The Class Action Waiver shall be severable in any case in which the dispute is filed as an individual action and severance is necessary to ensure that the individual action proceeds in arbitration.