prosecuting his action in a California forum. Thus, as noted above, Weiss' claims of increased expense and difficulty do not rise to the level necessary to cause this Court to refuse enforcement of a forum selection clause.
In evaluating the public policies underlying the action in Red Bull, Judge Knapp considered the history of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 686 F. Supp. at 451. Turning to the relevant history in this case, this Court must determine whether enforcement of the forum selection clause in this case is inconsistent with the purposes of the ADEA. Once again, Weiss has failed to demonstrate sufficient justification for this Court to refuse to enforce the forum selection clause.
Congress enacted the ADEA in 1967 "to promote employment of older persons based on their ability rather than age; to prohibit arbitrary age discrimination in employment; [and] to help employers and workers find ways of meeting problems arising from the impact of age on employment." 29 U.S.C. § 621(b). To achieve those goals, the ADEA, among other things, makes it unlawful for an employer "to fail or refuse to hire or to discharge any individual or otherwise discriminate against any individual with respect to his compensation, terms, or privileges of employment, because of such individual's age." § 623(a)(1). This proscription is enforced both by private suits and by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
While it clearly facilitates the Congressional scheme when private parties enforce the civil rights laws in private suits, this Court finds that, under the circumstances presented in this case, refusal to enforce the forum selection clause at issue here would not substantially further the public policies underlying the ADEA. The Supreme Court decision in Gilmer v. Interstate/Johnson Lane Corp., 114 L. Ed. 2d 26, 111 S. Ct. 1647 (1991), although directly concerned with the applicability of the Federal Arbitration Act to ADEA claims, informs this Court's decision. The Court in Gilmer ruled that age discrimination claims are subject to compulsory arbitration pursuant to arbitration agreements. 111 S. Ct. at 1657. Although forum selection clauses are not the subject of a federal statute compelling their enforcement, the policies underlying the Federal Arbitration Act are similar to those revealed in the line of Supreme Court cases supporting the enforcement of forum selection clauses. See Carnival Cruise Lines, 113 L. Ed. 2d 622, 111 S. Ct. 1522; Stewart Organization, 487 U.S. 22, 101 L. Ed. 2d 22, 108 S. Ct. 2239 ; The Bremen, 407 U.S. 1, 32 L. Ed. 2d 513, 92 S. Ct. 1907 . The purpose of both changes in the law was to counteract judicial hostility to the enforcement of such clauses and manifest a liberal policy favoring these types of clauses. Gilmer, 111 S. Ct at 1651; accord Stewart Organization, 487 U.S. 22, 101 L. Ed. 2d 22, 108 S. Ct. 2239, The Bremen, 407 U.S. 1, 32 L. Ed. 2d 513, 92 S. Ct. 1907 .
In Gilmer, the plaintiff opposed enforcement of the arbitration clause, arguing that compulsory arbitration would be inconsistent with the statutory scheme and purposes of the ADEA. While noting that the ADEA furthers important social policies, the Court discerned no inconsistency between these policies and compulsory arbitration. 111 S. Ct. at 1653. The Court found that the deterrent and remedial functions of the statute would be adequately served by permitting the litigant pursue his claims in an arbitral forum. 111 S. Ct. at 1653. Justice Stevens argued in dissent that the purposes of the ADEA would be frustrated by compulsory arbitration of employment discrimination claims because of the unavailability of injunctive relief in most arbitral forums. 111 S. Ct. at 1160. In rejecting this argument, the majority determined that the statutory scheme would be amply supported, regardless of whether private claims could not be brought in a judicial forum, by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's power to bring actions against offenders. 111 S. Ct. at 1655.
Examining the plain language of the statute, it is clear that Congress did not intend to limit the applicability of forum selection agreements in ADEA cases. The Act allows suit to be brought "in any court of competent jurisdiction" and provides no special venue requirements. 29 U.S.C. § 626(c)(1). Additionally, the Act authorizes the Secretary of Labor to employ "informal methods of conciliation, conference, and persuasion" to resolve claims of discrimination outside without resort to a judicial forum, where practicable. 29 U.S.C. § 626(b). The statute thus makes no special provision to ensure that ADEA claims are heard in any particular forum.
The statutory language and the discussion in Gilmer clearly demonstrate that the public policy underlying the ADEA will not be undermined by the enforcement of forum selection clauses. While the Supreme Court has approved the wholesale removal of ADEA claims from a judicial forum altogether by use of a contractual provision for arbitration, the motion before this Court will have a significantly less drastic effect on plaintiff's action: Weiss will have a judicial forum available to him, with the attendant panoply of judicial procedures and remedies, as long as he is willing prosecute his action in a different forum. The Court considers it highly significant that Weiss' action implicates no specific rights of third parties. The instant case is thus readily distinguishable from the situation presented to Judge Knapp in Red Bull.
As Weiss has failed to demonstrate that the public policy of this district and the public interests implicated in the ADEA will be frustrated, and in light of the general policy of this Circuit favoring the enforcement of forum selection clauses, this Court hereby orders that this action shall be transferred to the United States District Court for the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
For all the foregoing reasons, the motion of defendant Columbia Pictures Television, Inc., joined by defendant Sony Pictures Entertainment, Inc., is hereby granted and this action is transferred to the United States District Court for the Central District of California pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1404(a).
Dated: September 28, 1992
New York, New York
Peter K. Leisure