Great News for Employers: U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Arbitration Class Action Waivers

On Monday, May 21, 2018, in a 5-4 opinion, the United States Supreme Court issued a long-awaited decision in the case, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, on the issue of the enforceability of class action waivers in arbitration agreements that bar employees from joining together in class action claims, holding such waivers to be enforceable.  Employers now have the benefit of including class action waivers in arbitration agreements without the uncertainty of the last several years, when jurisdictions differed regarding their enforceability.

The challenge to enforceability in the case rested on the argument that the National Labor Relations Act (the “NLRA”) provides employees the right to seek relief on a class basis.  The Supreme Court ultimately concluded that the NLRA does not override the Federal Arbitration Act, which requires courts to enforce agreements to arbitrate, including the terms of arbitration selected by the parties.

This decision consolidated three cases that represented a split among federal court circuits.
The three cases include Morris et al v. Ernst & Young, LLP,  in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which includes California, rendered a decision contrary to the current  Supreme Court ruling.

 

The author would like to gratefully acknowledge the assistance of Joanne Warriner.

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked.  So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again.  This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing.  No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits).  But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you.  And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry).  Big news: Copyright 2018.  All rights reserved; yep, all of them.

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