Brief Fact Summary.
Man that gets fired sues his company for age discrimination. Defendant attempts to compel arbitration of the dispute based on a registration application to the New York Stock Exchange Plaintiff signed where he agreed to arbitrate any dispute with Defendant.
Synopsis of Rule of Law.
A claim under the Age Discrimination and Employment Act (ADEA) may be subjected to compulsory arbitration pursuant to an agreement in a securities registration application.
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides that written arbitration agreements shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable, save upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.View Full Point of Law
Plaintiff Gilmer was fired by Defendant Interstate after working there for six years. Plaintiff Gilmer filed an age discrimination claim with the Equal Employment Opportunity Comission (EEOC) and sued Defendant under the Age Discriniation in Employment Act (ADEA) claiming that he was fired because of his age. Defendant Interstate’s filed a motion to compel arbitration citing an agreement that Plaintiff Gilmer signed when he signed his registration application to the New York Stock Exchange which stated the Plaintiff agreed to arbitrate any dispute against Defendant. The district court denied Defendant Interstate’s motion to compel arbitration stating that under Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co. Congress did not intend to take away ADEA claimants’ ability to file suit in court. The court of appeals reversed, finding no Congressional intent to invalidate arbitration agreements. Plaintiff Gilmer appealed and the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari.
Can a claim under the ADEA be subjected to mandatory arbitration based on an agreement in a securities registration application?
Yes, a claim under the ADEA can be subjected to mandatory arbitration based on an agreement in a securities registration application
Justice Justice Stevens with Justice Marshall dissenting
The court ignores evidence that employment contracts are excluded from the FAA and there is a strong claim that arbitration is not an appropriate venue for ADEA and Title VII claims because arbitration cannot offer broad relief.