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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Michael T. Garrett was hired by Circuit City in 1994, while he was a member of the Marine Reserves. In 1995, Circuit City adopted an Associate Issue Resolution Program consisting of a nationwide policy for resolving employment-related disputes. When the Associate Issue Resolution Program was implemented, each associate, including Garrett, received a copy of a receipt form, an Associate Issue Resolution Handbook, a Dispute Resolution Rules and Procedures (Arbitration Rules), and an Arbitration Opt-Out Form. Garrett acknowledged, in writing, his receipt of the policy information, and did not opt-out of the arbitration provision within the thirty-day time period allowed under the policy. Garrett alleges that between December 2002 and March 2003, as the American military was preparing for combat in Iraq, he began to receive unjustified criticism and discipline from his supervisors. In March 2003, Garrett was fired, an action he attributes solely to his status as a Marine Reserve Officer. Garrett sued under Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act, and the district court agreed with his contention that � 4302(b) of USERRA overrides the enforcement of the arbitration agreement. Circuit City has appealed from the court’s judgment denying its motion to compel arbitration. HOLDING:Reversed and remanded. USERRA’s antidiscrimination provision prohibits an employer from denying initial employment, reemployment, or any other benefit of employment to a person on the basis of membership in a uniformed service, application for membership, performance of service, application for service, or obligation of service. 38 U.S.C. � 4311(a). Garrett contends, and the district court agreed, that � 4302(b) of USERRA precludes binding arbitration. It is not evident from the statutory language that Congress intended to preclude arbitration by simply granting the possibility of a federal judicial forum. In cases involving the Sherman Act, the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the civil protections of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and the Securities Act of 1933, the court has held substantive statutory rights enforceable through arbitration. It is significant, the court states, that �4302(b) does not mention mandatory arbitration or the FAA, notwithstanding that the decision in Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp., 500 U.S. 20 (1991), issued only three years before enactment of �4302(b), extended mandatory arbitration to employment agreements. When Congress enacts laws, it is presumed to be aware of all pertinent judgments and opinions of the judicial branch. The text of �4302(b) is not a clear expression of Congressional intent concerning the arbitration of servicemembers’ employment disputes. The defined substantive rights relate to compensation and working conditions, not to affording a particular forum for dispute resolution. An exclusive judicial forum is not a right protected by Chapter 43 of USERRA, nor is it within the scope of �4302(b). An agreement to arbitrate under the FAA is effectively a forum selection clause. The district court interpreted USERRA �4323(b)(3) as a “guarantee of a federal forum for aggrieved employees.” Section 4323(b)(3) provides that “the district courts of the United States shall have jurisdiction of the action” against a private employer. This language, however, neither guarantees a right to a federal court trial nor forbids arbitration as an alternate forum. On the contrary, USERRA provides several means for the resolution of disputes, and there is no guarantee of a federal forum for aggrieved employees. While �4323 outlines USERRA enforcement provisions for private or state employees, �4324 affords different procedures for federal government employees, which include adjudicating claims in an administrative tribunal, the Merit Systems Protection Board. This is significant, the court states, because the Gilmer court phrased the relevant inquiry as whether Congress had precluded “arbitration or other non-judicial resolution” of claims. The MSPB option evidences an intent to allow alternative means of dispute resolution for employees protected by USERRA. Thus, a federal judicial forum is not guaranteed to all employees under USERRA; rather, a federal judicial forum is available to some employees and can be claimed or waived, just as in other antidiscrimination statutes. Garrett argues that a portion of the 1994 legislative history of �4302 confirms Congressional intent to forbid resort to binding arbitration. The House Committee Report states, in part, “this section would reaffirm that additional resort to mechanisms such as grievance procedures or arbitration or similar administrative appeals is not required.” The court states, “We disagree that this snippet of legislative history should affect our interpretation of Section 4302(b),” emphasizing that authority suggests that legislative history should rarely be used in statutory interpretation, and that the court finds no ambiguity in this section. Garrett asserts that there is an inherent conflict between arbitration and USERRA’s underlying structure and purposes. The administrative and enforcement authority granted by USERRA to the Department of Labor and to the Attorney General does not conflict with arbitration. the Arbitration Rules in this case provide a fair opportunity for Garrett to present and prevail upon a claim of a violation of USERRA. Garrett has not shown, as is his burden, that arbitration under Circuit City’s rules would fail to allow a fair opportunity to present his claims. Finally, it is wrong to infer that the servicemembers’ substantive rights are not fairly and adequately protected by arbitration proceedings under the FAA, the court states. OPINION:Jones, C.J.; Jones, C.J., King and Dennis, JJ.

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