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NOT FOR PUBLICATION WITHOUT THE APPROVAL OF THE APPELLATE DIVISION

Argued February 6, 2001

By leave granted, defendant appeals from an order denying its motion to dismiss or remand to arbitration plaintiff’s complaint alleging wrongful termination of his employment.*fn1 The complaint included charges of breach of contract, defamation and other common law causes of action as well as a charge of age discrimination in violation of the New Jersey Law Against Discrimination (LAD), N.J.S.A. 10:5-1 to -49. Defendant claimed that plaintiff had waived his right to file such a complaint and had agreed instead to binding arbitration of any such dispute. The claim was premised on plaintiff having signed an “Employee Handbook Acknowledgment” (the Acknowledgment) by which he agreed to be bound by arbitration procedures embodied in defendant’s “Employment Arbitration Policy.” That policy, in turn, was summarized and described in an Employee Handbook (the Handbook) which had been distributed to plaintiff and, presumably, other employees as well. Defendant claims that, even if the signed Acknowledgment did not express a clear and unambiguous waiver of rights to file a LAD complaint, the Handbook did contain such a statement and, by incorporation, satisfied the requirement that any such waiver by an employee be clear, specific and unambiguous. We find, however, that the reference in the Acknowledgment (the only document signed by plaintiff) did not satisfy that requirement, that defendant therefore did not meet its burden of demonstrating a knowing and binding waiver of plaintiff’s right to maintain this suit, and accordingly, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

 
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