Supreme Court Upholds Workplace Arbitration Contracts Barring Class Actions

Justice Gorsuch, he added, “appears to have put his cards on the table as firmly in favor of allowing class actions to be stamped out through arbitration agreements.”

As a result, Professor Fitzpatrick said “it is only a matter of time until the most powerful device to hold corporations accountable for their misdeeds is lost altogether.”

.. Arbitration clauses in employment contracts are a recent innovation, but they have become quite common. In 1992, Justice Ginsburg wrote, only 2 percent of non-unionized employers used mandatory arbitration agreements, while 54 percent do so today.

.. Some 23 percent of employees not represented by unions, she wrote, are subject to employment contracts that require class-action waivers.

Under those contracts, Justice Ginsburg wrote, it is often not worth it and potentially dangerous to pursue small claims individually. “By joining hands in litigation, workers can spread the costs of litigation and reduce the risk of employer retaliation,” she wrote.

.. The contracts may also encourage misconduct, Justice Ginsburg wrote.

“Employers, aware that employees will be disinclined to pursue small-value claims when confined to proceeding one-by-one, will no doubt perceive that the cost-benefit balance of underpaying workers tips heavily in favor of skirting legal obligations,” she wrote, adding that billions of dollars in underpaid wages are at issue.

.. By a 5-to-4 vote, the court said a California couple who objected to a $30 charge for what had been advertised as a free cellphone were barred from banding together with other unhappy customers.

 

Six Women Jointly Sue Harvey Weinstein Over Alleged Assaults

Lawsuit seeks class-action status, claims widespread coverup amounted to civil racketeering

Six women filed a lawsuit against Harvey Weinstein on Wednesday, claiming the movie producer’s actions to cover up sexual assaults amounted to civil racketeering.

The lawsuit was filed in a federal court in New York, seeking to represent what it describes as “dozens, if not hundreds,” of women who say they were assaulted by Mr. Weinstein.

The lawsuit claims that a coalition of companies and people became part of the growing “Weinstein sexual enterprise” and that they worked with him to conceal his widespread sexual harassment and assaults.