The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday published its highly anticipated – and momentous – decision in a trio of consolidated cases involving the legality of binding employment arbitration agreements containing provisions that restrict the availability of class procedures.
In a closely divided 5 – 4 decision in the captioned case of Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, the Court struck down the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) controversial policy position – first articulated in the NLRB’s 2012 D.R. Horton ruling – that barring the availability of class procedures in an arbitration agreement unlawfully interferes with employee rights under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).
While the majority opinion notes that whether employers should be allowed to include class waivers in arbitration agreements may be debatable from a public policy perspective, the law on the matter is abundantly clear: The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) commands that private arbitration agreements be enforced according to their terms – “including terms providing for individualized proceedings.” In so ruling, the Court agreed with many of the arguments made by NT Lakis lawyers in our “friend-of-the-court” brief supporting reversal of the NLRB’s questionable D.R. Horton anti-arbitration rule.
In a lengthy dissent, joined by three of her colleagues, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg excoriated the majority’s decision as “egregiously wrong,” calling on Congress to step in: “Congressional correction of the Court’s elevation of the FAA over workers’ rights to act in concert is urgently in order.”
Members of the Center for Workplace Compliance (CWC) can read more here.