Ten years ago, Congress approved an amendment advocated by and named after former U.S. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) to prohibit certain defense contractors from entering into predispute arbitration agreements of discrimination claims brought under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Although the amendment has remained on the books since then, there have been very few cases applying the Franken amendment, and even today the precise limits of the prohibition are not well-defined.

That changed a little recently when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit issued a ruling that sheds some light on the Franken amendment’s scope. In Ashford v. PricewaterhouseCoopers, LLP, No. 18-1958 (4th Cir. April 3, 2020), the appeals court makes clear that a former defense contractor can require pre-dispute arbitration of Title VII claims even if an employee has not been notified that the company is no longer a DOD contractor

A copy of the Fourth Circuit’s opinion in Ashford is available online.

Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.