person(s) shall be arbitrated . . ." Prudential, 42 F.3d at 1302. Neither the original contract nor the manual were specific enough as to the Title VII claim to constitute knowing and voluntary elections to use the arbitration forum. Id. at 1305. Felt is simply not instructive on this issue: it does not provide the language of the arbitration agreement and is decided on other grounds. Felt, 60 F.3d at 1420.
The plaintiff would have the Court read these decisions as holding that the arbitration clause must specifically name the statute, or describe with particularity the class of statutes -- e.g., "civil rights statutes" -- whose procedures are to be waived in favor of arbitration. This is not required. Prudential emphasized the lack of any reference to "employment disputes." The language of the clause in this case refers to arbitration "any dispute or controversy which would otherwise require or allow resort to any court or other governmental dispute resolution forum, between myself and the Company, arising from, related to, or having any connection with my seeking employment with, employment by, or other association with, Company, whether based on tort, contract, statutory, or equitable law, or otherwise . . ." More cannot be reasonably required in view of the Supreme Court's rule that "any doubts concerning the scope of arbitrable issues should be resolved in favor of arbitration, whether the problem at hand is the construction of the contract language itself or an allegation or waiver, delay, or a like defense to arbitrability." Moses H. Cone Hospital, 460 U.S. at 24-25.
The argument that ADA claims require some higher form of waiver than other statutory claims must also be rejected. It is well settled that statutory claims such as Title VII and ADEA claims may be waived in an agreement to arbitrate. See Gilmer, 500 U.S. at 35 (ADEA); Mago, 956 F.2d at 935 (Title VII). Plaintiff does not cite one case that actually supports his argument that ADA claims must be waived only after they accrue. DiPuccio v. United Parcel Service, 890 F. Supp. 688 (N.D. Ohio) cited legislative history that agreements to arbitrate, as waivers of statutory rights, should be express and voluntary, and held that a collective bargaining agreement could not constitute such a waiver. Id. at 692. The ADA itself betrays no indication of special hostility to arbitration; to the contrary, the Act states that the use of "alternative means of dispute resolution, including . . . arbitration, is encouraged to resolve disputes arising under this chapter." 42 U.S.C. § 12212. Further, the reasoning of the Ninth Circuit in extending Gilmer to Title VII claims, that the "statutes are similar in their aims and substantive provisions," Mago, 956 F.2d at 935, would apply equally to ADA claims. Finally, the Court notes the recent introduction by Senator Feingold of a bill that would amend the ADA by adding a section rendering the statutory enforcement scheme exclusive "unless after such claim arises the claimant voluntarily enters into an agreement to resolve such claim through arbitration or other procedure." S. 366, 104th Cong., 1st Sess. § 5 (1995) (currently pending before Committee on Labor and Human Resources). This bill would be meaningless were plaintiff's version of the law true.
The Federal Arbitration Act applies to this case and mandates that the arbitration be compelled. Plaintiff's attack on the enforceability of this clause fails under settled principles of contract law. The Court rejects plaintiff's arguments that civil rights statutes must be specifically named in order to be waived, and that the ADA requires a higher standard of waiver than other civil rights statutes.
The motion to stay and compel is granted. Plaintiff's ADA claim shall be arbitrated in accordance with the procedures described in the employment agreement. This action shall be stayed pending the conclusion of that arbitration.
IT IS SO ORDERED.
DATED: February 13, 1996
NAPOLEON A. JONES, JR.
United States District Judge
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