by Michael Fox
This is not an employment decision, but an issue that occasionally arises where an employer requires an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment. Applying Mississippi state law the 5th Circuit overruled a district court's denial of a motion to compel arbitration because the plaintiff was illiterate. Washington Mutual Finance Co. v. Bailey (5th Cir. 3/19/04) [pdf]. Citing an old but still good Mississippi Supreme Court decision, the Court found there could not be two laws of contracts, one for the educated and one for the uneducated. I think most states would take a similar view.