Do You Want to Discuss Yesterday’s Supreme Court Decision?

Photo by Claire Anderson on Unsplash.

I don’t know about you, but I was not pleased with yesterday’s Supreme Court decision regarding workers’ rights to class action lawsuits. If you didn’t catch the news, here’s a summary from Bloomberg:

A divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that employers can force workers to use individual arbitration instead of class-action lawsuits to press legal claims. The decision potentially limits the rights of tens of millions of employees.

The justices, voting 5-4 along ideological lines, said for the first time Monday that a 1925 federal law lets employers enforce arbitration agreements signed by workers, even if they bar group claims. The majority rejected contentions that a separate law guarantees workers the right to join forces in pressing claims.

Now, I know that class action lawsuits can range from serious to frivolous — which is to say that yes, I listened to last week’s Planet Money — but any time I’ve seen the words “individual arbitration,” they’ve usually come with an explanation about why that option is literally the worst. The New York Times describes arbitration as “stacking the deck of justice.” The Washington Post reminds us that individual arbitration clauses help enable sexual harassment:

The confidential arbitration process is uniquely ill-suited to prevent and remedy sexual harassment, favoring employers and the harassers they protect. The proceedings prevent potential witnesses from learning of claims and coming forward to testify on behalf of victims or to join group actions. Discovery is limited, impeding an employee’s ability to collect evidence and prove her case. Arbitrators’ decisions are not reported and are nearly impossible to reverse.

So. If you’d like to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision, the comment section is open. If you’d like to expand the conversation to workers’ rights in general, it’s all yours.

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