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



WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) announces that a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding waivers of rights and claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 (ADEA), as amended, will appear in today's Federal Register.

Under section 7(f) of the ADEA, which was 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 requirements for determining whether a waiver is knowing and voluntary.

For example, in some circumstances -- including reductions-in-force programs -- employers are required to give detailed information in writing to employees being asked to sign a waiver. This information is meant to enable employees to make an informed judgment on whether or not to relinquish their ADEA rights and claims. EEOC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking provides guidance to all parties to clarify the various requirements of section 7(f) of the ADEA.

The proposed regulation was developed through the negotiated rulemaking process. A Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee comprised of representatives of employee rights organizations, plaintiffs' attorneys, management attorneys, and industry organizations conducted six two-day meetings between December 1995 and July 1996. As a result of these meetings, the committee succeeded in reaching a consensus on the proposed rule that was then approved by the full Commission to be published for notice and comment.

"The negotiated rulemaking on ADEA waivers signifies a ground breaking achievement for the Commission," said EEOC Chairman Gilbert F. Casellas, referring to the agency's first-ever use of an outside advisory committee to draft a proposed regulation. "The process allowed EEOC to obtain valuable input from significant interests affected by our rulemaking. We look forward to receiving comments from the public at large."

EEOC is now soliciting public comments from employers, employees, labor organizations, and all other interested individuals or groups. Members of the public will have 60 days to submit written comments to EEOC regarding the proposed regulation. Written comments should be submitted to the following address no later than May 9, 1997:

Frances M. Hart, Executive Officer, Executive Secretariat
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
1801 L Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20507

In addition to enforcing the ADEA, which prohibits employment discriminating against persons 40 years of age or older, 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 Equal Pay Act; Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits employment 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 March 13, 1997.

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