Supreme Court hears argument in major arbitration cases

Our readers may be interested in this story by Michael Scarcella on the contentious oral argument today before the Supreme Court in Epic Systems v. Lewis (and two cases consolidated with it), perhaps one of the most important arbitration cases the Court has ever heard. The question presented by one of the pro-arbitration parties is

Whether an agreement that requires an employer and an employee to resolve employment-related disputes through individual arbitration, and waive class and collective proceedings, is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act, notwithstanding the
provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.

The question presented, as posed by the National Labor Relations Board, is

Whether arbitration agreements with individual employees that bar them from pursuing work-related claims on a collective or class basis in any forum are prohibited as an unfair labor practice under 29 U.S.C. 158(a)(1), because they limit the employees’ right under the National Labor Relations Act to engage in “concerted activities” in pursuit of their “mutual aid or protection,” 29 U.S.C. 157, and are therefore unenforceable under the saving clause of the Federal Arbitration Act, 9 U.S.C. 2.

The transcript of the oral argument is here.

P.S. Amy Howe explains here why a Court split 5 to 4 "seemed likely to uphold employment agreements that require an an employee to resolve a dispute with an employer through individual arbitration, waiving the possibility of proceeding collectively." 




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