The U.S. Supreme Court recently reconvened and will hear a potentially pivotal case that has been the subject of a major employment dispute. It is feared that the outcome could have a serious impact on one aspect of employee rights. This case could affect millions of workers here in California and nationwide.
The case hinges on the rights of workers to band together to file a class action suit against employers with whom they are having an intractable dispute over labor issues. It has become increasingly more common for employers to demand that employees sign an arbitration agreement. These agreements require an employee to enter into a conflict resolution on a one-to-one basis. These agreements are regarded by many as an attempt to prevent workers from joining together to file a class-action suit when several employees are adversely affected by disputes.
The National Labor Relations Board has asserted that these agreements are a direct violation of the rights of employees to work together to seek justice for conditions or situations that deny employees fair compensation or other alleged violations to work statutes. The current Supreme Court case concerns three different companies that have been accused of withholding overtime pay and other alleged violations. One professional claims that some employees may fear retaliation if they enter into arbitration for disputes.
The case marks one of the first times that one independent federal agency -- in this case, the National Labor Relations Board -- will work against the current administration. There are some who state that arbitration can be a cost-effective measure that enables an employee to receive fair treatment. However, others claim that the requirement is costly and often is resolved in favor of the employer. Until the Supreme Court issues a ruling in the months ahead, California workers who believe that their employee rights are being violated can choose to seek information from an employment law professional who can help the employee arrive at the best resolution possible.
Source: Reuters, "Supreme Court back to work with major employment dispute", Lawrence Hurley and Robert Iafolla, Oct. 1, 2017