The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



Universal Agreement in Florida Covers 56 ‘Old Country Store’ Locations Statewide

TAMPA – The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. (Cracker Barrel) today announced the signing of a Universal Agreement to Mediate (UAM) to informally resolve workplace disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) prior to an EEOC investigation or potential litigation. The UAM applies to 56 Cracker Barrel establishments throughout Florida.

“We commend Cracker Barrel for entering this mediation partnership, which signals its intent to address workplace disputes in a constructive manner,” said EEOC Chair Naomi C. Earp. “More employers nationwide are realizing the many benefits of EEOC mediation, which saves time, money, and is non-adversarial.”

Michael J. Zylstra, Cracker Barrel Vice President and General Counsel, said: “Cracker Barrel is committed to providing a fully inclusive workplace, where diversity is welcomed and everyone is treated with courtesy and respect. This innovative agreement builds upon our existing policies and procedures to effectively and fairly resolve employee concerns and demonstrates our shared goal to create a bias free workplace. We look forward to developing an even stronger relationship with the EEOC.”

Under the terms of the UAM, all eligible charges of discrimination filed with the EEOC Miami District Office in the State of Florida in which Cracker Barrel Old Country Store is named as an 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 the EEOC’s efforts to improve operational efficiency and effectiveness. The EEOC has entered into 178 national and regional Universal Agreements to Mediate (UAMs) with private sector employers, including several Fortune 500 companies.

Additionally, EEOC district offices have entered into approximately 1,275 mediation agreements with employers at the local levels within their respective jurisdictions. Under the EEOC’s National Mediation Program, more than 110,000 charges of employment discrimination have been mediated with about 70% being successfully resolved in an average time of 97 days – less than half the time it takes to resolve a charge through an EEOC administrative investigation.

Cracker Barrel Old Country Store, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of the publicly held CBRL Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CBRL). Established in 1969 in Lebanon, Tenn., Cracker Barrel operates 582 company-owned locations in 41 states – including 59 stores in the State of Florida. Further information about the company is available on its web site at

The EEOC enforces federal laws prohibiting employment discrimination based on race, color, gender (including sexual harassment and pregnancy), religion, national origin, age, disability and retaliation. Further information about the EEOC and its mediation program is available on its web site at

This page was last modified on December 18, 2008.

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