Yet again, the little guy, the individual worker, is being robbed of his or her rights.
This time the thief is the highest federal court of the United States, the Supreme Court of the United States.
On May 21st, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled on the Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis case. The 5-4 decision the Court handed down held that the Federal Arbitration Act of 1925) overrules the National Labor Relations Act of 1935).
Let’s look at some recent workers rights class-action lawsuits:
– In 2016, because of labor law violations regarding California fast food workers, McDonald’s paid $3.75 million dollars to settle a labor lawsuit.
– In 2017, female employees of Walmart filed a complaint in federal court, in Florida, related to the company’s pay and promotion practices, alleging years of gender discrimination.
– In 2017, restaurant chain Panera faced a class-action overtime suit claiming employees were not paid overtime wages they say they were owed when they worked as assistant managers.
The above cases were all strengthened because they were filed as class-action lawsuits.
WHAT IS A CLASS-ACTION LAWSUIT?
A class-action lawsuit is an “important and valuable part of the legal system because they permit the fair and efficient resolution of legitimate claims of numerous parties by allowing the claims to be aggregated into a single action against a defendant that has allegedly caused harm.”
Class-action lawsuits also empower individual employees to join a “class” of wronged individuals.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED TO IMPACT CALIFORNIA RESTAURANT WORKERS?
With a recent Supreme Court ruling, these class-action cases may be a thing of the past.
WHAT DOES THE RULING MEAN?
The 5-4 decision means that the class-action waivers found in arbitration agreements, as well as other clauses that require employees to arbitrate their claims individually, are enforceable and do not violate the NLRA.
HUH? BUT WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR WORKERS!
It means that the days of employees joining class action lawsuits against an employer may be gone.
It means that arbitration agreements may bar employees – individually or as a class – the access to the court system
If an employer violates wage and hour laws, or other labor laws like discrimination, unsafe work environments, and the like, that employees will only be able to bring claims as individuals, and not as a class.
It means that when California restaurants violate wage or other labor laws, employees will only be able to bring claims up individually, in arbitration, and not as a class.
Already this case is having ramifications as thousands of Chipotle workers could be shut out of wage-theft lawsuit by new supreme court ruling
Many agree that this ruling is an appalling affront of employee rights.
WHY IS THIS A VICTORY FOR EMPLOYERS?
This case is seen as a victory for employers because it could significantly reduce the number of claims brought against them, and because historically, cases in arbitration favor the employer over the employee.
MOST CALIFORNIA EMPLOYEES DO NOT KNOW THEIR RIGHTS!
That’s the unfortunate reality. Most California employees think that just because they work in an “at-will” stare that they have no rights. Nothing could be further from the truth.
WHAT SHOULD EMPLOYEES DO IF THEY HAVE BEEN WRONGFULLY TERMINATED?
Learn more about your employee rights. Lawyers for Employee and Consumer Rights (LFECR) is a leading California employment law firm. With 40+ remote attorneys, LFECR is able to work on behalf of clients anywhere in California. Fired unfairly? Your free consult awaits! Call 888-625-0959. IM our Facebook page. Follow us on IG, Medium, or LinkedIn,
Have a great day!