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 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

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Governor Moves to Update, Expand Massachusetts’ Outdated Wiretap Law

BOSTON — Massachusetts’ wiretap statute, adopted in 1968 as a tool to combat organized crime, is now woefully out of... Read More

BOSTON — Massachusetts’ wiretap statute, adopted in 1968 as a tool to combat organized crime, is now woefully out of date; it needs a major revision to better equip law enforcement for the realities of the 21st century, the state’s governor said on Friday. “As technology... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Office of Personnel Management Raises Fed Minimum Wage to $15/Hour

WASHINGTON — Fulfilling a directive President Joe Biden issued on his first day in office, the Office of Personnel Management... Read More

WASHINGTON — Fulfilling a directive President Joe Biden issued on his first day in office, the Office of Personnel Management on Friday formally raised the minimum wage for federal employees to $15 an hour. The change means a raise for approximately 67,000 federal employees, commencing on... Read More

January 21, 2022
by Dan McCue
Global Leaders Facing Complex, Often Divergent Economic Challenges in 2022

GENEVA, Switzerland – Policy makers the world over will face a complex and often divergent set of economic challenges this... Read More

GENEVA, Switzerland – Policy makers the world over will face a complex and often divergent set of economic challenges this year as COVID wanes and other challenges, ranging from inflation to record fiscal debt levels, retake center stage, said participants at the Davos Agenda, a virtual... Read More

News From The Well
Exit mobile version