The opinion of the court was delivered by: Samuel Der-yeghiayan, District Judge
This matter is before the court on Defendants' motion to compel arbitration. For the reasons stated below, the motion is granted.
Plaintiff Steven Jensen (Jensen) was allegedly employed in August 2002 as a line worker by Defendant Calumet Carton Company Inc. (CCC). Jensen contends that in February 2009, Franciso Romero began to sexually harass Jensen by showing him nude photos, making lewd comments to him, and touching him. Jensen contends that he was subjected to a hostile work environment. Jensen brought the instant action pursuant to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII), 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. and includes in his complaint a hostile work environment claim. Defendants move to compel Jensen to proceed in arbitration.
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), 9 U.S.C. § 1 et seq. provides "that a written provision in any contract evidencing an intent to settle by arbitration any future controversy arising out of such contract shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract." French v. Wachovia Bank, 574 F.3d 830, 834 (7th Cir. 2009)(internal quotations omitted)(quoting Livingston v. Assocs. Fin., Inc., 339 F.3d 553, 556 (7th Cir. 2003) and 9 U.S.C. § 2). A party can bring an action in federal court to compel an opponent to submit to arbitration pursuant to 9 U.S.C. § 4. A court "will compel arbitration unless it may be said with positive assurance that the arbitration clause is not susceptible of an interpretation that covers the asserted dispute." United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Mfg., Energy, Allied Indus. and Service Workers Intern. Union v. TriMas Corp., 531 F.3d 531, 536 (7th Cir. 2008)(internal quotations omitted). When an arbitration agreement contains a broad arbitration provision, "there is a presumption in favor of arbitrability," and that "[a]ny ambiguities as to the scope of the arbitration clause are resolved in favor of arbitration." Id. (internal quotations omitted) ; see also Sweet Dreams Unlimited, Inc. v. Dial-A-Mattress Intern., Ltd., 1 F.3d 639, 642 (7th Cir. 1993)(stating that the Court should "[b]ear in mind the Supreme Court's instruction that 'any doubt concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration'")(quoting in part Moses H. Cone Mem. Hosp. v. Mercury Construction Corp., 460 U.S. 1, 24-25 (1985)); Miller v. Flume, 139 F.3d 1130, 1136 (7th Cir. 1998)(stating that "once it is clear the parties have a contract that provides for arbitration of some issues between them, any doubts concerning the scope of the arbitration clause are resolved in favor of arbitration").
Defendants argue that as a production employee for CCC, Jensen was bound by the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) between CCC and South Holland, Illinois and Graphic Communications Conference/ International Brotherhood of Teamsters Local 415 (Union). Defendants contend that the CBA prohibits discrimination based on sex and that employees that want to seek redress for a violation of that provision must first pursue a grievance process and seek arbitration before bringing a civil action.
I. Waiver of Statutory Rights
Jensen argues that a union cannot waive in a collective bargaining agreement an employee's rights provided in Title VII. Jensen cites Lawrence v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., 2006 WL 1005068 (N.D. Ill. 2006) for his position contending that Lawrence is "[t]he most analogous and comprehensive case . . . [in this] district directly on point. . . ." (Ans. 4). However, Lawrence is not controlling precedent. Lawrence was also decided before the United States Supreme Court's ruling in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 556 U.S. 247 (2009). In a collective bargaining agreement, an employee can waive certain rights under an anti-discrimination statute such as Title VII as long as the agreement to waive such rights is "explicitly" stated in the collective bargaining agreement and "clearly and unmistakably requires union members to arbitrate" claims. Id. at 1465-66, 1474.
Jensen argues that he did not personally sign the CBA and therefore is not bound by its provisions. However, Defendants have presented evidence showing that the CBA was entered into by CCC and the Union and the terms of that CBA. Jensen does not dispute that he worked for CCC in a position covered by the bargaining unit represented by the Union. 14 Penn Plaza LLC, 556 U.S. at 1456, 1464 (stating that a union can negotiate rights relating to employee's rights under anti-discrimination statutes and "[n]othing in the law suggests a distinction between the status of arbitration agreements signed by an individual employee and those agreed to by a union representative"). Jensen has not cited any precedent requiring an employee to have personally signed a CBA to be bound by that CBA. Thus, the fact that Jensen did not personally sign the CBA does not mean that he is not bound by the CBA.
Jensen contends that it is only alleged by Defendants that CCC and the Union entered into the CBA. Jensen argues that the "exact date in January  is conspicuously missing." (Ans. 2). However, the CBA documents provided by Defendants specifically state that the CBA was to remain in effect from May 1, 2008 to April 30, 2011. (Mot. Ex. A 1). Thus, ...