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Argued April 13, 2001

In Cole v. Burns International Security Services, 105 F.3d 1465 (D.C. Cir. 1997), we held that an employee who agrees to arbitration of disputes as a condition of employment and who makes a claim based on federal statutory rights may not be charged certain fees and expenses for arbitration of the claim, at least where that condition of employment was demanded by an employer not subject to regulatory oversight. See LaPrade v. Kidder, Peabody & Co., Inc., 246 F.3d 702, 704 (D.C. Cir. 2001). This case raises the issue whether Cole embraces or should be extended to non-statutory state law claims that are grounded in a “public policy rationale.” We hold that the logic of Cole does not reach so far.

Appellant Ronald Brown was employed by the Washington, D.C. office of Wheat First Securities, a member of the National Association of Securities Dealers (“NASD”), from November 1991 until his termination with three days’ notice in February 1997. When Brown signed on with Wheat First, he executed the NASD “Uniform Application for Securities Industry Registration or Transfer,” commonly known as Form U-4, which includes a mandatory arbitration clause.

 
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