•  
  •  
 

Abstract

In Goldsmith v. Bagby Elevator Company, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals carved a distinction in the employment context between mandatory predispute arbitration agreements and compulsory arbitration agreements as applied to pending claims of discrimination. In doing so, the court warns employers that any effort to terminate an employee's rights with respect to a pending Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") claim by instituting a mandatory arbitration provision will be seen as impermissibly retaliatory. Amid the backdrop of a case in which supervisors routinely called black employees "monkeys," "slaves," and "niggers," the court makes a well-meaning attempt at preserving employees' statutorily protected "day in court" for already-filed discrimination claims. However, by reaffirming the universal judicial acceptance of the validity of pre-dispute mandatory arbitration provisions in employment contracts, even for discrimination claims, Goldsmith creates confusion about the purpose of distinguishing between pre-dispute agreements and those that apply to pending claims. The case unwittingly reopens the door for additional inquiry into whether an arbitral forum can ever adequately address the most heinous of civil rights violations.

Share

COinS
 

To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.