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Federal - EEOC Rescinds Mandatory Arbitration Policy Statement

On December 17, 2019, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced its rescission of Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment (Policy No. 915.000, July 1997) because it does not reflect current law. Under Policy No. 915.000, the EEOC had claimed that agreements mandating binding arbitration of discrimination claims as a condition of employment are contrary to the fundamental principles of employment discrimination laws.

The EEOC’s current decision to rescind the policy statement is based on the following:

  • U.S. Supreme Court decisions have ruled that agreements to arbitrate employment-related disputes are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act for disputes between employers and employees;
  • In other arbitration-related cases decided by the court since 1997, the court rejected concerns with using the arbitral forum — both within and outside the context of employment discrimination claims; and
  • The EEOC is fully available to employees as an avenue to assert EEO rights and to investigate in the public interest, regardless of whether the parties have entered into an enforceable arbitration agreement. 

Of note, the rescission of this policy statement does not limit the EEOC’s ability, or any other party’s ability, to challenge the enforceability of a particular arbitration agreement.

Read the announcement and the rescinded policy statement