Even though existing precedent held that a refusal to sign an arbitration agreement was not a protected activity that could support a claim of retaliation, the Eleventh Circuit has published an opinion holding that an employee’s refusal to sign an agreement that applied to a pending charge of discrimination can support such a charge.
In Goldsmith v. Bagby Elevator Company (11th. Cir. 2008) 513 F.3d 1261, the plaintiff was willing to execute an amended dispute resolution agreement that would not have applied to his pending charge against the employer, but Bagby Elevator insisted that he sign an agreement that applied to the pending charge as well as future disputes, and fired him immediately after he refused to do so. The 11th Circuit held that Bagby Elevator was not entitled to a judgment as a matter of law against Goldsmith’s claim of retaliation because there was sufficient evidence of a causal relation between the filing of his pending charge and later termination. The case isn't very old, but has already been followed or cited seven times.
We've seen employers try that trick twice during pending wage and hour class actions. So far, no problem.