What the Awards Tell Us about Labor Arbitration of Employment Discrimination Claims

This Article contributes to the debate over mandatory arbitration of employment-discrimination claims in the unionized sector. In light of the proposed prohibition on union waivers in the Arbitration Fairness Act, this debate has significant practical implications. Fundamentally, the Article is about access to justice. It examines 160 labor arbitration opinions and awards in employment-discrimination cases. The author concludes that labor arbitration is a forum in which employment-discrimination claims can be-and, in some cases, are-successfully resolved. Based upon close examination of the opinions and awards, the Article recommends legislative improvements in certain cases targeting statutes of limitations, compulsory process, remedies, class actions, discovery, and a union’s duty of fair representation.