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PRESS RELEASE
7-21-04

Left to Right: Charlotte District Director Reuben Daniels, Jr. and Randy Hart, Ryan's Vice Presiden

Left to Right: Charlotte District Director Reuben Daniels, Jr. and Randy Hart, Ryan's Vice Presiden

EEOC AND RYAN'S RESTAURANT GROUP, INC. SIGN NATIONAL MEDIATION AGREEMENT

Latest NUAM Continues Multi-Year Trend of EEOC Partnerships with Corporate America

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Ryan's Restaurant Group (Ryan's) today announced the signing of a National Universal Agreement to Mediate (NUAM) to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation when a charge of discrimination is filed with the federal agency. Greer, S.C.-based Ryan's, formerly known as Ryan's Family Steak Houses, owns and operates approximately 330 restaurants in 23 primarily Southeastern and Midwestern states and employs approximately 23,000 people.

The mediation partnership marks the 42nd such national agreement between the EEOC and a large employer (mainly Fortune 500 companies) and bolsters a multi-year trend of corporate America signing on to the Commission's widely acclaimed mediation program one of the largest employment- related ADR programs of its kind nationwide, with approximately 11,600 mediations conducted annually.

"We applaud Ryan's and welcome their participation in EEOC's national mediation program," said Reuben Daniels, District Director of EEOC's Charlotte District Office, who signed the NUAM on behalf of Commission Chair Cari M. Dominguez.

Daniels added: "There are numerous benefits that flow from participating in EEOC's mediation program, including the following: it is fair, non-adversarial, expeditious and cost-effective. Additionally, it allows the parties to craft the resolution to the conflict that best meets their mutual needs which provides everyone the best opportunity to bring closure to the issues in a mutually satisfactory manner."

Randy Hart, Vice President for Ryan's, said the company shares the common goal with the EEOC in resolving all claims as responsibly as possible in order to facilitate positive opportunities for claimants, Ryan's, and the EEOC. "We believe that this agreement will benefit all participants and ensure full compliance with all laws and Ryan's policies," Hart said. "We look forward to our future partnership with the EEOC in these efforts toward amicable resolutions of claims."

Under the terms of the NUAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the Commission naming Ryan's Restaurant Group, Inc. as the employer/respondent will be referred to the EEOC's mediation unit, as appropriate. The company will designate a corporate representative to handle all inquiries and other logistical matters related to potential charges in order to facilitate a prompt scheduling of the matter for EEOC mediation.

Expanding mediation is a key component of Chair Dominguez's Five-Point Plan to improve the EEOC's overall operational efficiency and effectiveness. In addition to the 42 NUAMs, EEOC district offices have entered into approximately 570 mediation agreements with employers at the local and regional levels within their respective jurisdictions.

The EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, and national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, which prohibits discrimination against individuals 40 years of age or older; sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991; the Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; and the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government. Further information about the Commission is available online at www.eeoc.gov.