Employees Cannot Be Fired for Refusing to Waive Future EEOC Claims

A federal judge in Illinois has all but ruled in the EEOC’s favor in an ongoing dispute with a German-based chemical company that forced employees to give up their right to file future EEOC charges.

The company, Cognis, required certain employees to sign “last chance agreements” as a condition of their continued employment. One provision required the employees to agree never to file EEOC discrimination charges, even for future conduct. One employee revoked this agreement and was fired.

The court ruled that the employer was not entitled to summary judgment; instead, it invited the EEOC to move for summary judgment itself, not a good sign for the employer.

As a general rule, employers may not require employees to waive–or give up–their right to file an EEOC charge for future conduct.


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