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Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corporation

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Brief Fact Summary.

Petitioner sued Respondent for age discrimination. Respondent filed a motion to compel arbitration.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

An arbitration agreement and the Federal Arbitration Act can compel arbitration in claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

That mistrust of the arbitral process, however, has been undermined by our recent arbitration decisions.

View Full Point of Law
Facts.

Gilmer (Petitioner) brought suit against Interstate (Respondent) for age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 after he was fired at the age of sixty-two. Respondent filed a motion to compel arbitration as stipulated in the Petitioner’s employment contract and under the Federal Arbitration Act.

Issue.

Can a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 be subject to compulsory arbitration?

Held.

Yes, a claim under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 can be subject to compulsory arbitration. The Court of Appeals is affirmed.

Dissent.

Justice Stevens argued that the Court should have dismissed the motion to compel arbitration because the Federal Arbitration Act does not apply to employment contracts. He also argued that the Court did not properly consider the role of unequal bargaining power.

Discussion.

The Court determined that Congress did not intend to block arbitration for claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967. The Court rejected the Petitioner’s arguments that arbitration was inadequate for resolving age discrimination claims and that the employment agreement was the result of unequal bargaining power.


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