New hires are often required to sign contracts and some employers will include a mandatory arbitration clause in these agreements. A recent case highlights some of the legal issues that may come arise when an employee is forced to sign a contract with a mandatory arbitration clause. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has filed a lawsuit against Doherty Enterprises, Inc., a company that owns and operates over 140 franchise restaurants in multiple states. According to the lawsuit, the company violated employee rights to file discrimination cases with the EEOC. The lawsuit, (EEOC v. Doherty Enterprises, Inc.) was filed in the U.S. District Court of Florida.
Under the employee contract, mandatory arbitration agreements were conditions of employment, requiring that any claims, including those involving discrimination or retaliation, be submitted and resolved through binding arbitration. In effect, the contract interfered and conflicted with employee rights to file discrimination charges, according to the EEOC lawsuit. Our Orange County employment law attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of our employee-clients throughout Southern California. We are also committed to raising awareness of the legal issues and complications that impact the rights of workers.
Employment related disputes may arise before an employee is hired, during the course of employment or after termination. Under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, employers are prohibited from patterns or practices that conflict with the rights protected under the law. Section 707 also gives the EEOC the ability to seek immediate relief and does not require the same administrative processes as issues involving discrimination allegations.
According to the lawsuit, communication between the EEOC and individual employees is necessary to stop employment discrimination. A mandatory arbitration agreement forces employees to report misconduct through outside means without the support of the EEOC. When all of the reports and complaints become confidential, the arbitration agreement prevents federal intervention and oversight. The EEOC has asserted that the practice of mandatory arbitration agreements is in violation of federal law. The agency has taken action in court to prevent further use of arbitration agreements that conflict with the rights of employees.
Representatives from the EEOC have stated that the priority of the agency is to protect the rights of employees and to ensure fair access to the legal system. Any practice that prohibits an employee’s right to communicate with the EEOC is a violation of the law. Given this violation the EEOC is in the position to take action to end such unlawful practices through federal courts. The EEOC is also in a position to implement safeguards to prevent future interference with the filing process.
Individuals who have suffered from employee discrimination should consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible. In addition to filing a claim with the EEOC, an independent representative can review the facts of your claim, determine the proper course of action, and if necessary take your case through settlement and negotiation or to verdict. If you have signed a contract with a mandatory arbitration clause with your employer, you may have the right to take legal action
Employment lawsuits can be filed with assistance from the Nassiri Law Group, practicing in Los Angeles, Riverside, and Orange County. Call 714-937-2020.
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