May 21, 2018
Congress Should Overturn Today’s U.S. Supreme Court Decision Eroding Workers’ Rights
Statement of Robert Weissman, President, Public Citizen
Note: Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled by a 5-4 margin in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that employers can enforce arbitration agreements that prohibit employees from bringing class or collective legal actions. Public Citizen had filed a friend-of-the-court brief in the case arguing that such arbitration agreements violate the National Labor Relations Act’s longstanding protection of the right of workers to engage in “concerted action” to protect their rights.
The Supreme Court today said it is permissible for employers effectively to coerce their employees into giving up their right to join together in lawsuits when employers steal their wages, discriminate against them or subject them to illegal workplace conditions. Corporations across the country surely will take up the invitation. There is a remedy, however: Congress can act to overturn the decision and make clear that employers do not have the right to strip away rights otherwise guaranteed to workers in America.