Supreme Court says employers can force workers to use arbitration: 7 things to know

Kelly Gooch and Julie Spitzer - Print  | 

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of employers May 21 in a case involving workplace arbitration contracts.

Here are seven things to know about the ruling.

1. In a 5-4 decision led by the conservative justices, the Supreme Court decided companies may resolve labor and wage disputes individually and use arbitration clauses to prevent class-action lawsuits by employees against employers.

2. Petitioners in the consolidated case — Epic Systems Corp., Murphy Oil USA and Ernst & Young — contended their individual workplace arbitration contracts comply with the 1935 National Labor Relations Act and are legal under the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act.

3. The majority of justices sided with the companies in their ruling, saying employers are able to enforce workplace arbitration agreements under the arbitration act, even if they bar class-action lawsuits, according to Bloomberg.

4. Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority: "The policy may be debatable, but the law is clear: Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written."

5. Dissenting justices were Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. Justice Ginsburg, who wants federal lawmakers override the May 21 decision, described the ruling as "egregiously wrong."

"The inevitable result of today's decision will be the underenforcement of federal and state statutes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers," she wrote, according to Bloomberg.

6. According to the report, the ruling could affect tens of millions of workers.

7. Business advocates supported the ruling, citing potential to reduce litigation expenses, while some civil rights advocates argued the Supreme Court decision will blunt class-action discrimination lawsuits.

Read Bloomberg's full report here

 

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