Supreme Court Rules Employers Can Ban Class-Action Lawsuits

The Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling on Monday that allows employers to use class-action waivers in arbitration agreements, which bar employees from filing class-action lawsuits and instead force them into individual arbitration, according to The Huffington Post. The agreements essentially allow employers to suppress lawsuits that could “lead to large plaintiff classes and big payouts,” the outlet reported. Justice Neil Gorsuch, who wrote the majority opinion, said that the National Labor Relations Act—which guarantees the right of workers to join together in “mutual aid and protection”—does not “displace” arbitration law. “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,” he wrote. HuffPost reports that class-action suits have been “the most powerful way for employees to secure back pay” or “secure damages when their bosses run afoul of discrimination laws.” “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,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in the court’s dissent.