Yesterday, the EEOC voted 2-1 to rescind its 1997 policy position that forced arbitration of employment discrimination disputes contravenes the fundamental principles of our civil rights laws, including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
The EEOC’s policy statement made clear that when employers force employees to enter into binding mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition to their employment, it undermines courts’ public enforcement of federal civil rights laws and ultimately harms society’s broader interest in eliminating discrimination in the workplace.
“Today, close to 60 percent of Black workers, who are over-represented in low-wage jobs and more likely to experience employment discrimination and harassment, are subject to forced arbitration. Workers who have experienced discrimination deserve their day in court, and businesses that violate the law must be held accountable,” said Dariely Rodriguez, Director of the Economic Justice Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “The EEOC is charged with protecting the rights of workers and enforcing our country’s federal employment discrimination laws. By abandoning its important policy position opposing mandatory arbitration, the EEOC is giving businesses a license to prioritize corporate interests over the interests of workers. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law will continue to advocate for the end of mandatory arbitration agreements in employment, and work to protect the civil rights of the country’s most marginalized workers.”