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Order to compel arbitration can’t be appealed

The Supreme Court of Virginia ruled today that ab order to compel arbitration can’t be appealed under the Virginia Uniform Arbitration Act.

The issue arose when Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. filed a motion to compel arbitration after an employee filed a state court claim that she had been defamed in a performance evaluation.

Northrop Grumman said e-mails and memorandum advising employees that continued employment had the effect of ratifying a requirement that all employment disputes be handled through arbitration.

The employee contended that the company could not create an agreement by declaring that her continued employment could be viewed as consent to arbitration.

The trial judge ordered arbitration, and the employee appealed, citing a 2002 case that said the Supreme Court had “jurisdiction to review a circuit court’s order that denies or compels arbitration.”

The court ruled, however, that the case involved a denial of arbitration so that the “or compels” language was dictum that could not overcome the clear language of the statute that provides for an appeal from the denial or an application to compel arbitration but not from an order compelling it.

By Alan Cooper



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