In a major win for employers, the U.S. Supreme Court held that arbitration agreements with class action waivers do not violate the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). The Court’s narrow 5-4 decision paves the way for employers to include such waivers in arbitration agreements to avoid class and collective actions.
The U.S. Supreme Court voted to hear an appeal of the Ninth Circuit’s decision in Varela v. Lamps Plus, Inc. The Court is expected to decide whether workers can pursue their claims through class-wide arbitration when the underlying arbitration agreement is silent on the issue. The case could have wide-reaching consequences for employers who use arbitration agreements.
Last week, the United States Supreme Court released its decision in Digital Realty Trust v. Somers, where the Court unanimously adopted a narrow reading of the Dodd-Frank Act’s anti-retaliation “whistleblower” provision. The Court held that the provision applies only to individuals who report securities violations directly to the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The case involved Paul Somers, a former employee of Digital Realty Trust, who alleged that the company terminated him after he internally reported suspected violations of securities law by the company. Somers, however, never reported any of the suspected securities violations to the SEC.
The Supreme Court recently announced the cases for which it has granted certiorari for the 2012-2013 term. Among these, and now slated to be adjudicated in the nation’s highest court next term, are the appeals of three cases that will surely impact employment litigation. In these cases, the Court will discuss (1) what the evidentiary standard is in federal courts, post-Dukes, for class certification, (2) whether a case becomes moot, and thus beyond the judicial power of Article III, when the lone plaintiff receives an offer from the defendants to satisfy all of the plaintiff’s claims, and (3) what constitutes a “supervisor” for a vicarious liability claim under Title VII.