Dodd-Frank Does Not Bar Arbitration Of Claims If Arbitration Agreement Does Not Exempt Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Claims


The Fourth Circuit affirmed order from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia compelling arbitration of former employee’s federal claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA). The Court held that where a plaintiff is not pursuing Dodd-Frank whistleblower claims, neither 7 U.S.C. § 26(n)(2), nor 18 U.S.C. § 1514A(e)(2) of Dodd-Frank overrides the Federal Arbitration Act’s mandate that arbitration agreements are enforceable. The Court examined the interplay between the Federal Arbitration Act and Dodd-Frank and determined that while Dodd-Frank created causes of action for whistleblowers and then protected those causes of action by barring their waiver in “predispute arbitration agreements” nothing in Dodd-Frank suggests that Congress sought to bar arbitration of every claim if the arbitration agreement in question did not exempt Dodd-Frank claims. Santoro v. Accenture Federal Services, LLC et. al., No. 12-2561 (4th Cir. May 5, 2014).


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