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New Supreme Court Decision Will Affect Workers' Rights

New Supreme Court Decision Will Affect Workers' Rights

A recent ruling made by the Supreme Court will deliver a significant blow to workers everywhere. By a vote of 5 to 4, the Court ruled that workers can’t come together to challenge violations of federal labor laws.

In the decision, Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote that the 1925 Federal Arbitration Act supersedes the National Labor Relations Act and that employees who sign employment agreements to arbitrate claims have to do so on an individual basis. This means employees cannot come together as a group to enforce claims of wage and hour violations.

Gorsuch writes, “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. While Congress is of course always free to amend this judgment, we see nothing suggesting it did so in the NLRA — much less that it manifested a clear intention to displace the Arbitration Act. Because we can easily read Congress's statutes to work in harmony, that is where our duty lies.”

Justice Ginsburg Disagrees

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the majority opinion "egregiously wrong." According to her, the 1925 arbitration law came well before federal labor laws and therefore should not cover the provisions that employers are now forcing on their workers. Ginsburg warns that the decision reached by the Court will result in federal and state laws that are intended to protect workers’ rights being underenforced.

Implications for Sexual Harassment and Assault Cases

Experts of labor law have suggested that the decision will create issues for the #MeToo movement, as well as other civil rights class actions claiming discrimination based on race, gender and religion. Judith Resnik, a professor at Yale Law, says, “What this says is that when you buy something, use something, or work for someone, that entity can require you to waive your right to use public courts.”

The Supreme Court’s decision will prevent tens of millions of private nonunion employees from suing collectively over the terms of their employment.

At Christian & Christian, we are committed to protecting the rights of workers. If your labor rights have been violated by your employer, we can help. Contact our Greenville workers’ compensation attorneys to schedule a free consultation with our legal team today.


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