Divided Supreme Court Rules for Businesses Over Workers - NBC4 Washington
National & International News
The day’s top national and international news

Divided Supreme Court Rules for Businesses Over Workers

The result could prompt a new round of lawsuits aimed at limiting class or collective action to raise allegations of racial discrimination

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Join the Fight to End Senior Hunger
    J. Scott Applewhite/AP, File
    A file photo of the Supreme Court Building in Washington.

    What to Know

    • A divided court ruled that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes

    • The outcome affects an estimated 25 million employees work under contracts that prohibit collective action by employees

    • The Trump administration backed the businesses, reversing the position the Obama administration took in favor of employees

    The Supreme Court says employers can prohibit their workers from banding together to dispute their pay and conditions in the workplace, an important victory for business interests.

    The justices ruled 5-4 Monday, with the court's conservative members in the majority, that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes.

    The outcome does not affect people represented by labor unions, but an estimated 25 million employees work under contracts that prohibit collective action by employees who want to raise claims about some aspect of their employment.

    The result could prompt a new round of lawsuits aimed at limiting class or collective action to raise allegations of racial discrimination.

    Bourbon Warehouse Collapses

    [NATL] Bourbon Warehouse Collapses

    A bourbon warehouse in Kentucky partially collapsed on Friday, potentially damaging around 9,000 barrels of bourbon

    (Published Saturday, June 23, 2018)

    The Trump administration backed the businesses, reversing the position the Obama administration took in favor of employees.

    The court's task was to reconcile federal laws that seemed to point in different directions. On the one hand, New Deal labor laws explicitly gave workers the right to band together. On the other, the older Federal Arbitration Act encourages the use of arbitration, instead of the courts.

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said the contracts are valid under the arbitration law. "As a matter of policy these questions are surely debatable. But as a matter of law the answer is clear," Gorsuch wrote.

    In dissent for the court's liberals, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called the decision "egregiously wrong" and likely to lead to "huge underenforcement of federal and state stautes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers." Ginsburg said that the individual complaints can be very small in dollar terms, "scarcely of a size warranting the expense of seeking redress alone." Ginsburg read a summary of her dissent aloud.

    The National Labor Relations Board, breaking with the administration, argued that contracts requiring employees to waive their right to collective action conflict with the labor laws. Business interests were united in favor of the contracts.

    Lower courts had split over the issue. The high court considered three cases — two in which appeals courts ruled that such agreements can't be enforced and a third in which the appeals court said they are valid.

    Tiger Cub and Puppy Form Unlikely Friendship at Russian Zoo

    [NATL] Tiger Cub and Puppy Form Unlikely Friendship at Russian Zoo

    Cute alert! A rare friendship has formed between Taigan the tiger cub and Alabai the puppy at Vladivostok Zoo in Russia. A video published by the zoo shows the tiger cub and the puppy playing together inside a cage.

    (Published Friday, June 22, 2018)

    The Supreme Court says employers can prohibit their workers from banding together to dispute their pay and conditions in the workplace, an important victory for business interests.

    The justices ruled 5-4 Monday, with the court's conservative members in the majority, that businesses can force employees to individually use arbitration, not the courts, to resolve disputes.

    The outcome does not affect people represented by labor unions, but an estimated 25 million employees work under contracts that prohibit collective action by employees who want to raise claims about some aspect of their employment.

    The result could prompt a new round of lawsuits aimed at limiting class or collective action to raise allegations of racial discrimination.

    The Trump administration backed the businesses, reversing the position the Obama administration took in favor of employees.

    The court's task was to reconcile federal laws that seemed to point in different directions. On the one hand, New Deal labor laws explicitly gave workers the right to band together. On the other, the older Federal Arbitration Act encourages the use of arbitration, instead of the courts.

    Mom's Heartfelt Reaction to Daughter Hearing for First Time

    [NATL-DFW] Mom's Heartfelt Reaction to Daughter Hearing for First Time

    One-year-old Ayla Esler burst into a smile after hearing sound for the first time Tuesday, thanks to cochlear implants installed in the toddler’s ears last month at the Cook Children’s Hospital in Fort Worth, Texas.

    (Published Friday, June 22, 2018)

    Justice Neil Gorsuch, writing for the majority, said the contracts are valid under the arbitration law. "As a matter of policy these questions are surely debatable. But as a matter of law the answer is clear," Gorsuch wrote.

    In dissent for the court's liberals, Justice Ruth Bader called the decision "egregiously wrong" and likely to lead to "huge underenforcement of federal and state stautes designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers." Ginsburg said that the individual complaints can be very small in dollar terms, "scarcely of a size warranting the expense of seeking redress alone." Ginsburg read a summary of her dissent aloud.

    The National Labor Relations Board, breaking with the administration, argued that contracts requiring employees to waive their right to collective action conflict with the labor laws. Business interests were united in favor of the contracts.

    Lower courts had split over the issue. The high court considered three cases — two in which appeals courts ruled that such agreements can't be enforced and a third in which the appeals court said they are valid.