Court of Appeals of Texas, Second District, Fort Worth
THE 67TH DISTRICT COURT OF TARRANT COUNTY TRIAL COURT NO.
WALKER and MEIER, JJ.; and CHARLES BLEIL (Senior Justice,
Retired, Sitting by Assignment).
cannot compel arbitration in the absence of a valid
arbitration agreement, and a valid arbitration agreement
cannot exist in the absence of employee notice and
acceptance. In re Dallas Peterbilt, Ltd., L.L.P.,
196 S.W.3d 161, 162 (Tex. 2006); In re AdvancePCS Health
L.P., 172 S.W.3d 603, 605 (Tex. 2005). In this appeal
from a final judgment confirming an arbitration award in
favor of Appellees Columbia North Hills Hospital Subsidiary,
L.P., Columbia North Texas Subsidiary GP, LLC, and HCA Health
Services of Texas, Inc., Appellant Jane Doe argues in two
issues that the trial court abused its discretion by
compelling arbitration of her claims against Appellees
because she had no notice of, nor did she accept, their
binding arbitration policy. We conclude and hold that Doe did
not have notice of Appellees' arbitration policy as a
matter of law. We will reverse and remand.
implemented a Mandatory Binding Arbitration Policy in 2006.
It provides in relevant part that "both the employee and
the [employer] agree to give up any right either of them
might have to a jury or judge trial regarding any issue
governed by the [Arbitration Policy]" and that
"[a]ll disputes governed by the [Arbitration Policy]
shall be submitted to final and binding arbitration."
The Arbitration Policy covers claims for employment
discrimination, retaliation, and negligence, among other
things, and is expressly governed by the Federal Arbitration
Act (FAA). Appellees' various employment policies,
including the Arbitration Policy, are posted on their
intranet website, called "Compliance 360." The
policies are "available to all employees at all
times" through the intranet site.
North Hills Hospital Subsidiary, L.P. (the Hospital) hired
Doe as a part-time Multi-Skill Tech in August
2012. Like all new employees, Doe participated
in new employee orientation. During the orientation,
Appellees informed Doe of their intranet site and instructed
her that she was responsible for reviewing and familiarizing
herself with any polices that were applicable to her
employment. Doe signed an "ACKNOWLEDGEMENT OF RECEIPT OF
POLICIES, " which provided in relevant part as follows:
North Hills Hospital Policies can be found and printed
from the online tool Compliance 360, which is available
from the North Hills Hospital intranet website. Copies
of policies can also be obtained in departmental manuals,
from your director, or from the Human Resources Department.
While all policies are important, there are a few that we
would like for you to pay particular attention to as you
begin your employment at North Hills. These policies have
been printed for you, and are attached to this cover sheet.
Please read these policies. . . .
. . . .
I acknowledge that I have received copies of the policies
listed below. It is my intention to read them and familiarize
myself with them. I also understand that I can access
additional policies through Compliance 360, departmental
manuals, and the North Hills Hospital Employee Handbook.
• Parking Policy
• Patient Safe Handling and Movement
• Tobacco and Smoke Free Environment Policy [Emphasis
also signed an acknowledgment of the following:
I have been oriented to and/or provided materials to examine
regarding safety, security and policies and procedures. I was
provided an opportunity to ask questions during the
orientation. With my signature, I acknowledge my
orientation to the above materials and I understand my
responsibility to familiarize myself ...