May 21, 2018
Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285;
Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, No. 16-300;
National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, No. 16-307
Decided May 21, 2018
Today, the Supreme Court held 5-4 that an employee’s agreement to arbitrate employment-related disputes with his employer through individual arbitration is enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act. The Court rejected the argument that enforcing the arbitration agreement’s class action waiver would violate employees’ right to engage in collective action under the National Labor Relations Act.
The Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) provides that agreements to arbitrate transactions involving interstate commerce “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable,” except “upon such grounds as exist at law or in equity for the revocation of any contract.” 9 U.S.C. § 2. In these consolidated cases, the employees agreed to arbitrate work-related disputes through individual arbitration, but later sued their employers in federal courts, arguing that the arbitration agreements were invalid because they violated employees’ right to engage in “concerted activities” under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). 29 U.S.C. § 157.
Whether an agreement that requires an employer and an employee to resolve work-related disputes through individual arbitration, and waive class proceedings, is enforceable under the FAA, notwithstanding the employee’s NLRA right to engage in concerted activities.Court’s Holding:
Yes. Arbitration agreements requiring individual arbitration of employment disputes are enforceable notwithstanding the NLRA collective-action right.
What It Means:
“It is this Court’s duty to interpret Congress’s statutes as a harmonious whole rather than at war with one another. And abiding that duty here leads to an unmistakable conclusion.”
Justice Gorsuch, writing for the Court
Gibson Dunn’s lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding developments at the Supreme Court. Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders:
Appellate and Constitutional Law Practice
|Caitlin J. Halligan
|Mark A. Perry
|Nicole A. Saharsky
Gibson Dunn’s Labor and Employment lawyers are available to assist in addressing any questions you may have regarding arbitration programs. Please feel free to contact the following practice leaders or the attorneys with whom you work:
Labor and Employment Practice
|Catherine A. Conway
+1 213.229.7822 firstname.lastname@example.org)
+1 202.955.8206 email@example.com
|Jason C. Schwartz
+1 202.955.8242 firstname.lastname@example.org
Related Practice: Class Actions
|Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr.
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