UBS has asked a federal court to bar a former employee from pursuing a discrimination claim with a New York state agency and compel the individual to settle her claim in arbitration.

The wirehouse filed its petition to compel Vanessa Prowse into arbitration before the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of New York.

Prowse was a fixed-income trading desk lawyer at UBS in New York until August.

She filed a claim with the New York Workers’ Compensation Board alleging UBS discriminatorily discharged her in retaliation after she sought workers' compensation benefits, according to UBS’ court filing. The Workers’ Compensation Board then set a February 4 trial date to hear Prowse’s claims, the same filing states.

UBS argued in its federal court filing that Prowse signed an employment agreement that requires her to arbitrate her claims.

In response, the court scheduled a January 23 hearing at which Prowse must show why the court should not issue an order requiring her to arbitrate her claims.

Wirehouses generally aim to keep disputes with their existing and former employees out of courts and instead go through arbitration. They typically require employees to sign agreements that call for most, if not all, disputes to be arbitrated.


Prowse, an Australian citizen, was temporarily authorized to work for UBS in the U.S. in November 2018 on a work visa, according to the wirehouse’s court filing. Before that, she was employed by UBS in Australia.

It was in the logistics of that transfer that Prowse entered into an arbitration agreement with UBS, according the wirehouse’s court filing.

A UBS spokesperson declined to comment for this story. Prowse could not be reached for comment.