Supreme Court will consider class action waivers

January 20, 2017 0 COMMENTS

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).

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Supreme Court ruling bolsters use of mandatory arbitration

November 29, 2012 0 COMMENTS

by Charles S. Plumb

Employers requiring employees to submit disputes to mandatory arbitration rather than filing a lawsuit got a boost from a November 26 U.S. Supreme Court ruling in an Oklahoma case.

In the case, two employees of Nitro-Lift, a provider of services to oil and gas well operators, left their jobs to work for a competitor. The two had signed confidentiality and noncompetition agreements that included a clause requiring the parties to submit disputes to mandatory arbitration.

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Ohio Joins Wisconsin, Idaho in Passing Union-Curbing Legislation

March 31, 2011 0 COMMENTS

Another state has secured victory in the battle to balance struggling state budgets by restricting collective bargaining rights for public-sector employees. Ohio Governor John Kasich has approved Senate Bill (SB) 5, a bill that is in some ways more restrictive than the highly publicized and protested Wisconsin bill that passed earlier this year.

The bill limits collective bargaining rights for public employees by prohibiting negotiations on health care, sick time, and pension benefits. Public employees would still be permitted to negotiate wages and certain work conditions but would be prohibited from participating in strikes. SB 5 also requires public employees to contribute a higher percentage of their health and pension benefits, reduces the number of vacation days and paid holidays for workers, and eliminates automatic pay increases, instead adopting a system of merit raises and performance pay.

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Supreme Court Rules on Employer-Employee Arbitration Dispute

June 22, 2010 0 COMMENTS

Today, in a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court outlined a new rule that employers must consider in disputes over the validity of arbitration agreements. More specifically, the Court had to determine whether under the Federal Arbitration Act, an arbitrator or a court has the authority to determine whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable, and the Court’s answer was both, depending on the circumstances.

In this case, Rent-a-Center required Antonio Jackson to sign as a condition of his employment an arbitration agreement that prohibited him from pursuing employment claims in court. (They would instead be subject to arbitration.) Later, he filed an employment discrimination suit in district court again Rent-A-Center, and the company asked the court to dismiss the proceedings and compel arbitration. The district court did so, but the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed on the question of whether a court or an arbitrator had the authority to decide whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable.

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