In an unpublished opinion released Thursday, the 2nd District Appeals Court reversed a lower court’s ruling that Cheryl Oldham’s lawsuit could proceed. The judge in that case found that Oldham could sue despite an arbitration agreement in her employee handbook.
Oldham began working at Larry Flynt Publications, Inc. in 1999 and signed an acknowledgement she received an employee handbook containing a binding arbitration clause. That acknowledgement “made it clear that waiver of arbitration required the consent of [Oldham] and [Flynt],” the judges wrote in the unanimous decision.
A lower court judge found that Oldham was not bound by the agreement because it was “unfairly weighted toward Flynt,” according to a wire report.
The age harassment claim stems comes from Oldham’s allegations that Flynt retaliated against her for helping another female employee in a similar claim. In a meeting where Flynt asked her to lie about hearing sex noises from his office, Flynt called Oldham “overweight, unattractive, over 50 and probably unable to find another job,” according to her lawsuit. Finally, following an arbitration hearing in the other woman’s claim, Flynt demoted Oldham to a receptionist position at his video company.
Oldham also alleged that “loud, obnoxious and repeated noises of sexual gratification that disrupted the office” made her unable to perform her job duties.
The case is Oldham vs. Flynt, B195911.