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Supreme Court Coverage
Explaining each case in an infographic.
The Supreme Court makes a controversial ruling in favor of employers.
Did you read the fine print in your employment contract?
May 21, 2018
When you get offered a job, often you have to just take it. Even if you're in a position to bargain for a higher salary, you probably won't waste your time worrying about the fine print...
But in this case, the fine print turned out to matter.
Employees at three companies - Epic Systems, Ernst & Young and Murphy Oil USA - signed similar language in their employment agreements. They agreed to bring their disputes in arbitration courts, and they agreed that they wouldn't bring any class suits.
But then, the employees wanted to bring lawsuits against their employers. And they needed to bring them as class actions because each individual case wouldn't have been worth enough to justify the litigation cost.
These class action waiver provisions have become commonplace in employment contracts. They are cost-savers for companies that otherwise could face a lot of litigation.
The employees in this case argued that a federal law protects their rights to bring class actions. Put another way: they couldn't have signed the rights away.
The Supreme Court didn't agree. See our infographic and report on the 5-4 (conservative-liberal split) decision in favor of the employers.