Employment Contracts Under the FAA-Reconsidered.

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The article presents information about an historical clarification of the exemption of "contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce" from the Federal Arbitration Act. There is virtually no official legislative history on point more fully to explain the exemption. No congressional debate. No comment in the committee report. Not much even in the hearing record. One has to make sense of the silence to understand the exemption from the circumstances of its submission. Once that is done, however, concluded that U.S. Congress exempted from the Act's reach all employment contracts over which it had power under the foreign and interstate commerce clause. Since that effort was published, several U.S. Courts of Appeals have laid their consideration of the question on the printed page, most notably among these the District of Columbia and Seventh Circuits. The former, in an opinion by Judge Harry Edwards that takes account of virtually everything in the legal literature except this piece, was persuaded by all the arguments. The latter, in an opinion by Judge Richard Posner that takes account of nothing in the literature except this piece, rejects its conclusion. A decent respect for these opinions, considering the well-deserved stature of their authors, should cause one to reconsider and to see if there is something in the history.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalLabor Studies Journal
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1 1997


  • Contracts
  • Labor arbitration
  • Employment (Economic theory)
  • Railroad employees
  • Legislation
  • Interstate commerce
  • Sailors
  • Judgments (Law)
  • United States


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