Equal Opportunity Employment Commission v. Waffle House

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  • Workplace Equality and Economic Empowerment
  • Authored Amicus Brief
2002

Determined whether the EEOC has the authority to pursue individual remedies in court when the individual employee has signed a mandatory arbitration agreement.

Summary of the Case

The plaintiff, Eric Scott Baker, brought an Americans with Disabilities Act claim after Waffle House fired him as a grill operator because of a seizure disorder. Baker had signed an employment contract containing a mandatory arbitration agreement. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals held that the EEOC cannot be compelled by an employee contract to arbitrate its claims for injunctive relief, but that the EEOC's interest in seeking damages, reinstatement, and backpay is outweighed by the federal government's policy favoring arbitration, as embodied in the Federal Arbitration Act.

Decision

The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the circuit court ruling, ruling the Federal Arbitration Act did not authorize courts to overrule Title VII and the ADA.