The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announced today that it is publishing a final legislative regulation governing waivers of rights and claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA). The regulations will appear in the Federal Register on Friday, June 5, 1998, and will be effective 30 days after publication.

Under section 7 (f) of the ADEA, added by the Older Workers Benefit Protection Act of 1990, an individual may not waive any ADEA right or claim unless the waiver is "knowing and voluntary." Section 7 (f) sets out minimum statutory requirements for determining whether a waiver is knowing and voluntary. The final regulations provide much needed guidance to assist employees and employers in understanding their respective rights and obligations under the ADEA's waiver provisions. It will be particularly helpful in corporate reductions in force and downsizings where waivers are most commonly used.

"The negotiated rulemaking procedure allowed EEOC to reach out to a broad range of interests affected by the ADEA and to explore, early on in the regulatory process, their concerns," said EEOC Chairman Paul Igasaki. "I am confident that these regulations will benefit both employees and employers in the process of securing waiver agreements that are truly knowing and voluntary."

EEOC developed the final regulation through the use of negotiated rulemaking procedures. This was the first time EEOC has used this process. A Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee made up of twenty representatives of employee rights organizations, plaintiffs' attorneys, labor organizations, state and local governments, management attorneys, industry organizations, and EEOC representatives transmitted a recommended rule to the Commission on September 6, 1996. The recommendation represents a consensus of all Committee members.

EEOC published for public comment a proposed rule on March 10, 1997. Fifteen comments were submitted. After careful consideration of the comments, the Commission voted to promulgate final regulations reflecting the consensus recommendations of the Committee.

The text of the regulations will be available on EEOC's web site at shortly after the release of the document. You can also obtain a copy by writing to EEOC's Office of Communications and Legislative Affairs, 1801 L Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20507.

In addition to enforcing the Age Discrimination in Employment Act, 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 Equal Pay Act; the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities in the private sector and state and local governments; the Rehabilitation Act's prohibitions against disability discrimination in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

This page was last modified on June 4, 1998.

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