On December 16, 2019, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) rescinded its 1997 Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment. The Policy Statement took the position that forced arbitration clashed with workers’ civil rights and the public interest in eradicating discrimination.

The EEOC’s December 16th decision retracting the Policy Statement reasons that since the issuance of the Policy Statement in 1997, the United States Supreme Court has ruled, in a long line of cases, that agreements to arbitrate employment-related disputes between employees and employers are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). In addition, the Supreme Court had made clear that mandatory binding arbitration agreements did not prevent an employee from filing a charge with the EEOC and did not preclude the EEOC from pursuing victim-specific relief in litigation on behalf of an employee who files a timely charge of discrimination.

The EEOC concluded that the Policy Statement “does not reflect current law, is rescinded, and should not be relied upon by EEOC staff in investigations or litigation.”

It should be noted, however, that beginning on January 1, 2020, an employer can no longer require an applicant or employee to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment. See prior Compliance Matters article.

If you have any questions about the matters discussed in this issue of Compliance Matters, please call your firm contact at 818-508-3700 or visit us online at www.brgslaw.com
Richard S. Rosenberg
Katherine A. Hren
David Fishman
Ballard Rosenberg Golper & Savitt, LLP