Judging from recent results from Google searches, I am beginning to think that conservatives do a better job of following the court than do liberals. Fortunately, there is Mother Jones. Below is a link to an article from that progressively minded publication as well as the introductory paragraphs to that article.
The Supreme Court Could Prevent Millions of Workers From Suing Their Employers
Tens of millions Americans forfeit their right to sue their employer every time they take a job. In 2012, Sheila Hobson and three coworkers at Murphy Oil, a gas station and convenience store chain, learned they were among them. After allegedly failing to get paid for overtime work, Hobson and her colleagues took their employer to court. But when they had first been hired, they had been required to sign an agreement forfeiting their right to sue Murphy Oil and instead settle disputes through individual arbitration hearings. A federal court in Alabama found that Hobson and her colleagues didn’t have the right to sue, upholding the agreement they’d signed.
On Monday, the Supreme Court opened its fall term with National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, and two similar cases, that will determine whether companies can force workers like Hobson to sign away their right to file collective suits. The decision in the cases, which were heard jointly, has the potential to push millions more workers into individual arbitration hearings that lack many of the protections of the US legal system.
Following the Equifax hack, consumers across America were reminded that buying a company’s products often means giving up the right to class-action litigation. Upon signing up for these products, customers are required to forfeit this right and instead agree to go before arbitrators hired by corporations. Unlike the US court system, arbitration is conducted in private, making it difficult for others to learn of abuses. There is generally no right to appeal.
In rulings in 2011 and 2013, the Supreme Court upheld corporations’ right to use “class-action waivers” that force consumers into individual arbitration. Murphy Oil will determine whether employees can also be bound by those waivers.
In the early 1990s, less than 4 percent of companies surveyed by the Government Accountability Office, an independent government agency, used mandatory arbitration for their employees. Today, more than half of private-sector non-union workers are subject to it, according to a report published last week by the liberal Economic Policy Institute. Forty-one percent of those employees—24.7 million workers—have also waived their right to class-action litigation.
People stand in line at the Supreme Court on October 2, the first day of the new term.