Advancing Arbitration: Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory Arbitration of Discrimination Claims

While the headlines out of Washington have documented a series of labor wins since the Obama administration came to town, the Supreme Court offered employers with unionized workforces a piece of good news in April: a new tool to use in contract negotiations and possible relief from escalating discrimination litigation.

A divided high court ruled that an employer and a union can agree that unionized employees must take their statutory discrimination claims to arbitration, rather than filing lawsuits in court.

Crystal Clear

For one thing, Thomas made it clear that arbitration provisions will only be enforceable if--like the agreement 14 Penn Plaza had with the SEIU--clear language defines exactly what claims are subject to arbitration. In fact, he differentiates this case from Gardner-Denver on the grounds that in the earlier case, the clause did not make clear which statutory rights it affected.

Senior Editor

Mary Swanton

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