Democratic leaders are at it again, pushing a bill that would topple the United States Supreme Court 2018 decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis. In effect, the proposed bill would bar employers from requiring class action waivers and mandatory arbitration, thus allow workers to bring employment claims as a group as well as bring claims to court.
The Restoring Justice for Workers Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-New York (who also sponsored a similar bill in early March), and Rep. Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, and in the Senate by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Washington. The purpose of the bill is “to prohibit forced arbitration in employment disputes” among other things.
Epic Systems decided that employees may be required to waive their rights to bring an employment claim as a class. The proposed bill argues that mandatory arbitration of individual claims prevents employees from protecting their rights, since a class action can be more affordable and less intimidating. The bill would also amend the National Labor Relations Act to prohibit employers from stopping employees from bringing class actions in employment claims, whether in agreements or practices.
Proponents for the proposed bill believe that arbitration clauses are often overlooked in employment agreements and protect the employer and abusers, while dissuading victims from coming forward.
Read more about other recent proposed bills seeking to reverse the Epic decision in our Carmody@Work Blog.