Loading...

Supreme Court to Hear Worker’s Case to Clarify Arbitration Clause Rights

November 15, 2021 by Tom Ramstack
Supreme Court to Hear Worker’s Case to Clarify Arbitration Clause Rights
The Supreme Court is seen on the first day of the new term, in Washington, Monday, Oct. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court agreed Monday to hear a case by a fast-food worker who claims employers have no right to force arbitration on employees after first contesting the workers’ lawsuits in pre-trial proceedings.

The Taco Bell worker who sued said her franchisee in Iowa avoided paying overtime by spreading employees’ hourly wages over weeks, thereby bringing the average to no more than 40 hours per week. She was seeking back pay for overtime.

After litigating the case for eight months, the franchisee, Sundance, Inc., invoked the arbitration clause in Taco Bell’s standard employment contract.

A federal court in Arkansas ruled for the employee, Robyn Morgan, by saying her employer already waived its right to arbitration by waiting too long.

The Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals disagreed. The delay did not hurt Morgan’s chances of a fair outcome from arbitration, the appellate court said.

Other courts across the United States also have split on the enforceability of arbitration clauses.

Part of the confusion appears to result from the Supreme Court’s precedent in the 2011 case of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion. It said courts should evaluate arbitration agreements “on an equal footing with other contracts.”

A variety of state and federal courts interpreted “equal footing” differently.

Morgan’s attorneys noted the confusion in their petition to the Supreme Court, writing, “Parties who are contractually bound to resolve future disputes in arbitration but who choose to litigate those disputes in court instead face differing legal standards throughout the country for whether their inconsistent litigation conduct constitutes a waiver of their right to demand arbitration.”

It adds, “This Court should grant the petition to provide clarification and uniformity to this unsettled area of law. Both are badly needed.”

Morgan filed her case against Sundance, Inc. by invoking worker protections under the Fair Labor Standards Act. The 1938 law creates a right to a minimum wage and requires time-and-a-half overtime pay for more than 40 hours per week of labor.

The case coincides with a hearing Tuesday in Congress on whether arbitration can be unfair to workers. Several lawmakers are considering changing federal statutes to clarify the enforceability of arbitration clauses.

The case is Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., U.S., No. 21-328.

Tom can be reached at tom@thewellnews.com

In The News

Health

Voting

In The News

January 24, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
FBI Cracks Down on Organizations Accused of Cashing in on Pandemic

WASHINGTON —  The FBI is investigating an Illinois company that has received $124 million from the federal government for COVID-19... Read More

WASHINGTON —  The FBI is investigating an Illinois company that has received $124 million from the federal government for COVID-19 testing after reports the owners were using part of the money for lavish lifestyles. FBI agents raided the headquarters in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Saturday. It opened... Read More

New Conservative Target: Race as Factor in COVID Treatment

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some conservatives are taking aim at policies that allow doctors to consider race as a risk... Read More

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some conservatives are taking aim at policies that allow doctors to consider race as a risk factor when allocating scarce COVID-19 treatments, saying the protocols discriminate against white people. The wave of infections brought on by the omicron variant and a shortage of... Read More

Assange Wins First Stage in Effort to Appeal US Extradition

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won the first stage of his effort to overturn a U.K.... Read More

LONDON (AP) — WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Monday won the first stage of his effort to overturn a U.K. ruling that opened the door for his extradition to U.S. to stand trial on espionage charges. The High Court in London gave Assange permission to appeal... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Judge Blocks Vaccine Mandate for Federal Workers

GALVESTON, Texas — A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on Friday blocking the Biden administration from requiring... Read More

GALVESTON, Texas — A federal judge in Texas issued a preliminary injunction on Friday blocking the Biden administration from requiring that federal workers be vaccinated against the coronavirus. But the ruling by U.S. District Judge Jeffrey Brown is expected to have little impact. As of Friday,... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Virginia Attorney General Sues Over School Mask Mandates

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s new attorney general continued a hard turn to the right Thursday when he filed documents in the... Read More

WASHINGTON — Virginia’s new attorney general continued a hard turn to the right Thursday when he filed documents in the state Supreme Court asking for a dismissal of a lawsuit against Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s order overturning mask mandates. Youngkin’s executive order last week makes masking in... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Tom Ramstack
Antitrust Bill Targets Big Tech For Preferential Treatment Given to Their Own Products

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved antitrust legislation Thursday that bans Big Tech from giving a preference to their... Read More

WASHINGTON — The Senate Judiciary Committee approved antitrust legislation Thursday that bans Big Tech from giving a preference to their own products and services on their internet platforms. The American Innovation and Choice Online Act responds to criticism that Amazon, Apple, Google and Meta Platforms Inc.’s... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version