Our readers in Minnesota may have seen a previous post here that discussed arbitration clauses that are commonly part of the terms and conditions of employment contracts. These types of clauses have been a hot-button issue in employment law circles, as they are often used to force employees away from the courtroom, into arbitration and – most importantly – away from the ability to form a “class” and pursue a class action lawsuit. In a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, the ability of employers to include these arbitration clauses in employment contracts was upheld.
As a recent report noted, the Supreme Court was split 5-4 in the decision that could have a major impact on employees throughout the country, particularly those who are members of a union. By siding with employers over employees, there are many who believe that the Supreme Court reached the wrong decision on this issue.
The recent report notes that estimates are that up to 25 million workers in America are subject to arbitration clauses as a term of employment, forcing them to address any legal woes as individuals instead of from the more powerful position of a class of plaintiffs. The Supreme Court took what may be viewed as a rather direct approach to this issue: if arbitration clauses aren’t against the law, the Supreme Court is not in a position to say they are against the law. That job belongs to the legislative branch, according to the Supreme Court.
One of the main problems with these arbitration clauses is that many workers don’t even know they are in these clauses are in their employment contracts. That is why anyone who is contemplating accepting a job that offers a contract would likely be making a good move to review the potential legal ramifications of the terms of the contract.