Supreme Court Backs Employers Over Workers in First of Two Major Labor Cases

The Supreme Court dealt an initial blow to millions of workers Monday in the first of two major disputes this term pitting corporations against labor unions.

In a 5-4 decision controlled by the court’s conservative wing, the justices ruled that employers have the right to insist that labor disputes get resolved individually, rather than allowing workers to join together in class-action lawsuits.

The nation’s major business trade groups lined up in favor of the three employers: Epic Systems, a Wisconsin health care software company; Ernst & Young accountants; and Murphy Oil, which operates gas stations in 26 states.

On the other side were workers’ rights groups such as the National Employment Law Project, which warned Monday that the ruling could set back the Me Too movement against sexual harassment in the workplace.

“Forced arbitration means women have to pursue their claims alone, before a private arbitrator hired by the company, with a low likelihood of success and little chance to appeal,” Christine Owens, the group’s executive director, said in a statement.

In her dissent, Ginsburg employed a tactic she used successfully in 2007, when she urged Congress to correct the court’s ruling against a female employee who complained she was paid less than men for the same work. The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act became the first law President Obama signed in 2009.

“Congressional action is urgently in order to correct the court’s elevation of the Arbitration Act over workers’ rights to act in concert,” she said.

You can read the full article in USA Today


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