In an employer friendly decision, the U.S. Supreme Court just issued a ruling that may make it more difficult for employees to fight discrimination. The Court upheld the legality of arbitration agreements that include provisions waiving employees’ rights to join class-actions. This means that workers who have signed these agreements, most likely must take up their cases individually rather than banding together to fight unjust and discriminatory policies. Often, joining together puts more pressure on employers to do the right thing, than one individual seeking redress.
The case questioned whether making employees enter into arbitration agreements to resolve disputes was contrary to the National Labor Relations Act, (“NLRA”), which gives workers the right to join forces in “mutual aid and protection.” Many times, workers do not realize they have entered into such agreements, as the language may be in the fine print when signing an employment agreement or contract. Judge Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who dissented, called the decision “egregiously wrong.”
“Employees’ rights to band together to meet their employers’ superior strength would be worth precious little if employers could condition employment on workers signing away those rights,” Ginsburg wrote.
Class-action lawsuits are a powerful legal tool for employees to fight back against wage and hour violations.
However, despite this ruling individuals may bring lawsuits on their own behalf against their employers for wage and hour, overtime pay and discrimination lawsuits and join in class actions in many situations. If you believe that your employer has violated your rights, it is important to consult immediately with an experienced Atlanta employment attorney to discuss your next steps.
For more information or for an immediate case evaluation, please contact our team of dedicated Atlanta labor lawyers at Buckley Beal LLP for an immediate case evaluation.