Waffles anyone?

We have learnt, that arbitration is final and enforceable…And then came the Waffle House Case”!

Little did Mr. Baker know, that he would make legal history, when he unfortunately suffered a seizure while working as a short-order cook at a Waffle House restaurant in South Carolina.

What started as a local employer vs. employee dispute, became a turning point in arbitration practice.

The ball of events began to roll:

Mr. Baker filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), claiming that he had been unfairly fired.

The EEOC filed suit against Waffle House, charging that its treatment of Mr. Baker violated the Americans with Disabilities Act and seeking relief for Mr. Baker, who was not party to the enforcement suit.

Waffle House held that because Mr. Baker had signed an agreement to settle employment through arbitration, a district court should stay the EEOC suit.

The district court backed the EEOC

The 4th US Circuit Court of Appeals held that the EEOC could not seek victim-specific relief, such as back pay, because of the Federal Arbitration Act.

The Supreme Court backed the EEOC.

The following two articles (below), present the conceptual and practical changes in workplace arbitration, Pre and Post the Waffle House case.

The Case Assignment

Please review the following articles (in this order)

Spognardi, M. A., & Ketay, S. L. (2002). Having your waffle and eating it too: The EEOCs right to circumvent arbitration agreements. Employee Relations Law Journal; New York; Summer 2002; Abstract: This column first examines the law surrounding the arbitration of employment disputes prior to the Supreme Courts recent decision in Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Waffle House, Inc. (2002). Next it examines the Supreme Courts Waffle House decision and questions the Courts analysis. Finally, this column discusses the effect the Waffle House decision will have on employers, and makes practical suggestions to ensure enforceability of arbitration agreements. (I WILL UPLOAD ARTICLE)

Rosenberg, R. S., & Manier, J. J. (2003). A Pre-Dispute Arbitration Agreement Doesnt Limit Jurisdiction of the EEOC. Retrieved February 2008 from: pre-dispute.html

After carefully reading through the Module background material, and these articles, please answer (in about 3 pages), the following questions:

What are the practical consequences of the Supreme Courts decision in the Waffle House case, to the implementation of arbitration in the workplace?

Do you agree that this Marks the endof arbitration agreements as a means of keeping employment disputes out of the courts?

Note: I am more interested in YOUR insight and understanding, and less in a summary of the article.