Class Action Waivers: This Morning at The Supreme Court10.02.17
This morning, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Epic Systems v. Lewis, a case that will decide whether arbitration agreements containing class action waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act.
Employers argue that the class action waivers in arbitration agreements are valid and should be given deference under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). Employees argue that arbitration agreements are given the same – but not more favorable – treatment as other contracts under the FAA. Workers argue that contracts which prohibit class and collective actions violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). That act says that contracts are void if they prohibit “concerted activity.” Employees argue that class and collective actions are the type of “concerted activity” that the NLRA is intended to protect.
Justice Kennedy, who is often the swing vote, seemed to be skeptical of the workers’ arguments. The newest justice, Neil Gorsuch, did not speak a word during the oral argument. The importance of this case cannot be overstated. The outcome will significantly impact class and collective action litigation for years to come.