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Live Nation employee’s discrimination claim will now be heard through arbitration

By | Published on Monday 7 September 2020

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The discrimination dispute being pursued by a furloughed Live Nation employee in the US will now go to arbitration, despite her originally suing through the LA County Superior Court.

Candace Newman has accused the live music giant of discriminatory practices, claiming that systematic racism negatively impacted on her career at the company and resulted in her being pushed out of the business under the guise of COVID-19 measures.

In the lawsuit filed in July, Newman claimed that she had been consistently “scrutinised and criticised far more harshly” than her male and non-black peers during her ten-year plus stint working for Live Nation. That, she added, had resulted in unfair and unwarranted formal warnings from her immediate managers.

Back in February this year Newman submitted a formal complaint with her employer, but as COVID struck she was put on leave and subsequently furloughed. She was then told an investigation had been launched, but into complaints made against her, rather than her complaints against the company.

For its part Live Nation said it was surprised by Newman’s litigation. It stressed that, despite the impact of COVID on its business, she was in fact still an employee of the company. It then also denied the allegations of bias and discrimination.

The latest development in the case is the result of a technicality. Companies would always prefer disputes with employees to go through a private arbitration process rather than be fought out in public in a courtroom, and employers can try and force such a thing in staff contracts or other agreements.

And that’s basically what has happened here. According to Billboard, Live Nation has unearthed a letter from 2009 in which Newman agreed to arbitrate “any and all claims or controversies” that may occur involving her and the company.

Given that commitment, the live giant is able to force this particular dispute into arbitration, and last week it informed the LA County Superior Court that that’s now happening.