The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE              CONTACT:   Claire Gonzales
July 10, 1997                                 Reginald Welch
                                              (202) 663-4900
                                              TDD:   (202) 663-4494



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) today issued the Policy Statement on Mandatory Binding Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Disputes as a Condition of Employment, supporting its position that agreements that mandate binding arbitration of discrimination claims as a condition of employment are contrary to the fundamental principles of employment discrimination laws. The Commission previously announced its policy on this matter by a motion passed on April 26, 1995.

The policy statement comes as an increasing number of employers are requiring as a condition of employment that applicants and employees give up their right to pursue employment discrimination claims in court. The Commission continues to hold that the courts play an essential role in enforcing the civil rights laws. For example, only the courts can create legal precedents. Such precedents are responsible for some core anti-discrimination principles, such as the doctrine that sexual harassment violates the law.

Stressing the importance of the government's anti-discrimination enforcement role, EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas said, “When employees are forced into private, employer-designed arbitration systems to resolve their discrimination claims, there is no public accountability for decisions that are made or for employers who violate the law.”

The Commission also took the opportunity in the policy statement to reaffirm its “strong support of voluntary alternative dispute resolution programs that resolve employment discrimination disputes in a fair and credible manner, and are entered into after a dispute has arisen.”

The text of the policy statement 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.

EEOC enforces Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin; the Age Discrimination in Employment Act; 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; prohibitions against discrimination affecting individuals with disabilities in the federal government; and sections of the Civil Rights Act of 1991.

This page was last modified on July 10, 1997.

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