Another Arbitration Agreement Invalidated

Metters worked for Ralphs Grocery. He believed he was a victim of discrimination and harassment and complained to human resources, and to the President of the company via a hotline.
Ralphs Grocery has a dispute resolution policy and an arbitration agreement that it includes with a request for dispute resolution. The language requiring arbitration, although on the second page of the form, is surrounded by a border box, is in white type on a black background, and emphasizes that arbitration is required. However, the arbitration agreement is contained in the request for dispute resolution, not in a separate document that is styled "arbitration agreement" or something similarly unambiguous.
The trial court and court of appeal agreed that the Ralphs forms did not establish an "agreement to arbitrate" because there was no contractual "meeting of the minds." Therefore, there was no need to decide whether the arbitration agreement was unconscionable, or whether the Federal Arbitration Act required arbitration. Without an agreement to arbitrate, the FAA does not apply.
The court of appeal found significant that Ralphs would have had a duty to investigate Metters' claims even if he did not submit the request for dispute resolution form. Yet, Ralphs apparently did not adequately explain Metters' options to him.
The case is Metters v. Ralphs Grocery. The opinion is here.