Aspects of the Continuing Debate on the Arbitrability of Title VII Claims - Section XIV - Employment Arbitration - 2nd Edition
Thomas Carbonneau is the Samuel P. Orlando Distinguished Professor of Law at Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. Professor Carbonneau is commonly regarded as one of the world's leading experts on domestic and international arbitration. He serves on the editorial board of La Revue de L'Arbitrage and is the author of ten highly acclaimed books and 75 scholarly and professional articles on arbitration.
Originally from Employment Arbitration - 2nd Edition
Aspects of the Continuing Debate on the Arbitrability of Title VII Claims
Thomas E. Carbonneau
In addition to the decisional law examined in the prior sections, other court opinions have contributed to the debate regarding the arbitrability of Title VII civil rights claims that arise in employment cases. While some courts follow the Gardner-Denver holding and allow plaintiffs to avoid arbitration, other courts deem Gardner-Denver to have been superceded by the Gilmer ruling that provides for the arbitrability of all employment disputes.
As noted in the foregoing discussion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit has been the most vocal advocate for the unlimited arbitrability of statutory workplace disputes, while the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has made the most forceful case for the inarbitrability of Title VII disputes. The federal district court’s ruling in Rosenberg v. Merrill Lynch, criticizing NYSE arbitration as containing a “structural bias” and being generally an inadequate system for resolving civil rights claims, added to the division among the federal circuits on this question. To avoid further confrontations, perhaps even a reprimand from the U.S. Supreme Court, the First Circuit upheld the Rosenberg result on different grounds. The opinion in DeGaetano v. Smith Barney also provided some, albeit weaker, support for the special status of Title VII actions.
The opinions in the cases that follow address several aspects of the arbitrability question as it relates to civil rights legislation: the congressional intent underlying Title VII; the role of the “emphatic federal policy” supporting arbitration in the adjudication of civil rights matters; and the function of arbitration in resolving “politicized” disputes in the union and nonunion workplace.
Section XIV. Aspects of the Continuing Debate on the Arbitrability of Title VII Claims
(i) Desiderio v. National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), 2 F. Supp. 2d 516 (S.D.N.Y. 1998)
(ii) The Decision in Rosenberg v. Merrill Lynch
(iii) (a) Hooters of America v. Phillips, 39 F. Supp. 2d 582 (D.S.C. 1998)
(b) Hooters and the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals
(iv) Seus v. John Nuveen & Co., 146 F.3d 175 (3d Cir. 1998), cert. denied, 525 U.S. 1139 (1999)
(v) Title VII and the Award of Attorney's Fees in Employment Arbitration
(vi) State Courts Uphold the Arbitrability of Title VII Claims
(vii) The Seventh Circuit Adopts Arbitrability