An employment class action is a lawsuit by a small group of employees on behalf of a larger group to prove that the actions of an employer are discriminatory or otherwise unlawful. Class actions are essential to the enforcement of our nation’s laws, since they are often the only way that individual employees can challenge an employer.
Because class action lawsuits have been so successful at protecting the interests of employees, businesses and employers sometimes require employees to sign restrictive employment contracts limiting their legal rights.
Recently, the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals joined the Chicago-based 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in striking down contracts banning employees from joining together to pursue workplace claims.
The ruling stemmed from a overtime pay case against a well-known international professional services firm who required employees to sign an agreement that all legal claims against the company would be resolved through arbitration and in “separate proceedings”.
However, employees claimed that “separate proceedings” interfered with their right to pursue claims as a class as provided under the National Labor Relations Act. In the majority opinion, the judge concurred with the employees, stating that the right of employees to act together is an essential, substantive right established by the NLRA.
If you have an employment law matter, contact the Law Offices of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson PC. Our Davenport, Iowa discrimination, wrongful termination lawyers can help you. Call 563-355-6478 today.
Source: ABA Journal, “Company Can’t Ban Employees From Pursuing Workplace Claims as a Class, 9th Circuit Says”, by Debra Cassens Weiss