For Immediate Release: August 16, 2017

AAJ Files Brief Strongly Urging the Supreme Court to Protect Employees’ Rights

Contact:
Sammi Swing
Email:
Samantha.Swing@justice.org
Phone:
202-944-2806

Washington, DC— The American Association for Justice (AAJ) today filed an amicus curiae brief in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc. in the U.S. Supreme Court strongly urging it to uphold the NLRB’s correct determination that corporate employers cannot use abusive forced arbitration clauses to prevent employees from banding together to seek accountability for widespread labor and civil rights violations.
 
The question before the Court is whether an employer can prohibit employees from joining together to pursue work-related claims, a long established federal right.  AAJ takes the position that the Court’s own precedent requires it to affirm the NLRB’s authority to limit or condition an employer’s use of forced arbitration against its employees, and urges the Court to be mindful of the many federal agency regulations that have restricted corporations’ abusive use of forced arbitration against Americans. 
 
AAJ’s brief states:
 
“For over forty years, federal agencies have written rules limiting or regulating the use of arbitration. Over a dozen agencies have done so, under presidential administrations led by both political parties, to protect the statutory rights of investors, military servicemembers, farmers, airline passengers, nursing-home patients, and others…”
 
“The employers’ contrary view threatens dozens of vital and lawful regulations as well as the settled view of the FAA (Federal Arbitration Act).  This Court should exercise caution, adhere to its prior precedent, and leave room for federal agencies to continue to regulate arbitration where expert regulators conclude that doing so is necessary to protect substantive rights.”

Click here to download AAJ's brief.

 
Background
 
In the face of mounting data showing how forced arbitration lets corporations off the hook for breaking the law, federal agencies are taking vital steps to curb the use of forced arbitration clauses.  Acting pursuant to their statutory and spending authorities, federal agencies can act to restore Americans’ rights to hold corporations accountable under the law. Such agency actions include:
 
The Department of Defense (DoD) Acts to Protect Servicemembers from Forced Arbitration:

  • In 2015, in a historical move to restore the rights of servicemembers and their families, the DoD finalized rules to strengthen and broaden the scope of the Military Lending Act (MLA), which prohibits the use of forced arbitration against servicemembers swindled by unscrupulous financial corporations.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Acts to Protect Financial Consumers from Forced Arbitration:

  • After conducting a comprehensive, multi-year study into the use of forced arbitration against consumers cheated and defrauded by financial corporations, the CFPB determined that the practice denies justice to millions of Americans. In July, the Bureau released a rule to restore consumers’ rights to go to court to hold banks, credit card companies, payday lenders, and other financial corporations accountable for wrongdoing.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Acts to Protect Nursing Home Residents from Forced Arbitration:

  • In 2016, CMS issued a rule to prohibit nursing homes and long-term care facilities receiving federal funding through Medicare and Medicaid from using forced arbitration against residents who are injured or killed while entrusted in their care.

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The American Association for Justice works to preserve the constitutional right to trial by jury and to make sure people have a fair chance to receive justice through the legal system when they are injured by the negligence or misconduct of others—even when it means taking on the most powerful corporations. Visit http://www.justice.org