On Thursday, July 13, 2017, I will be speaking at the California State Bar Labor & Employment Section's Advanced Wage and Hour Conference. I will be presenting the 2017 Annual Update, along with Jeffrey Ranen from Lewis Brisbois LLP. The past year has seen a lot of exciting developments -- some good, some bad and some downright ugly. One of the worst developments for employees is the appointment of Justice Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. Next term, the Supremes will decide whether class action waivers in arbitration agreements violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which guarantees employees the right to engage in "concerted activity" for their mutual aid and benefit. The Seventh and Ninth Circuits have held that Section 7 means that employees can join together to bring work-related claims against their employers, and that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are illegal because they violate the NLRA. The Fifth Circuit went the other way. With Justice Gorsuch on the bench, it seems likely that the Supremes will side with the Fifth Circuit and rule that class action waivers are perfectly fine, following in the footsteps of Concepcion and other cases in the consumer context that have blessed class action waivers. Fear not - the past year had some positive developments for employees, and I will post about those next time.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.