The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a trio of wage and hour cases involving arbitration agreements that require workers to waive their right to pursue employment claims as a group.
In recent years, the validity of such waivers has divided federal appeals courts and drawn the attention of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The Board has held several times that even though federal law allows employers to adopt mandatory arbitration agreements, the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) grants workers the nonwaivable right to pursue claims on a class or collective basis.
The NLRB first reached that conclusion in 2012, holding that an employer’s arbitration agreement violated the NLRA because it required employees to agree to dispute claims individually. The employer appealed to the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, which reversed the Board’s ruling. D.R. Horton, Inc. v. NLRB, 737 F.3d 344 (5th Cir., 2013).