As we have previously reported, courts and the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) have released a number of recent decisions favoring the enforceability of arbitration agreements in the employment context. It is now settled law that class-action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act or infringe on employees’ Section 7 rights under the Act.  In a recent decision, the NLRB extended this holding to allow employers to implement arbitration programs—including those with class-action waivers—in direct response to litigation by its employees.


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On September 20, 2019, the NLRB issued a notice of proposed rulemaking to exclude undergraduate and graduate students who perform paid work for private colleges and universities in connection with their studies from the definition of employee under the National Labor Relations Act.  The proposed rule would prevent undergraduate and graduate teaching assistants from unionizing or collectively organizing.
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The Seventh Circuit recently upheld a local ordinance in Grande Chute, Wisconsin that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way despite challenges from a local labor union. In 2014, the town of Grande Chute passed a zoning ordinance that banned all private signs on public rights-of-way.  Under the authority of the zoning ordinance, two town officials ordered a local chapter of the Construction and General Laborers’ Union to remove the labor union’s large, 12-foot inflatable rat, which, like other unions across the country, had become a longstanding feature of the Union’s strike tactics.  Specifically, the Union had placed the inflatable rat in a median across from a car dealership that it was targeting.
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The United States Supreme Court held this past Term in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis that class action waivers in arbitration agreements do not violate the National Labor Relations Act.  In the wake of Epic Systems, courts have found that class action waivers are likewise permissible under the FLSA.  These cases make clear that class action waivers are here to stay.
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In China Agritech, Inc. v. Resh, the U.S. Supreme Court held that putative class members cannot rely on equitable tolling to file new class actions under Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. Resh was the third shareholder class action suit filed against China Agritech, Inc. under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. The plaintiffs in the two previous suits settled their claims after the court denied their motions for class certification. 
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In one of the most anticipated decisions of the term, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 7-2 decision, dodged the key constitutional questions in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, issuing a narrow opinion finding that the Colorado Civil Rights Commission displayed “impermissible hostility” toward a baker’s sincerely held religious beliefs.
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On February 1, 2018, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania dismissed an overtime class action suit brought on behalf of a group of former democratic campaign workers for their work during the 2016 presidential election.  In dismissing the overtime suit, the Court relied on an often-overlooked defense to the Fair Labor Standard Act.
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