Employment Class Action Blog

Information and Commentary on Class Action Cases Affecting Employers

Sometimes being right is not a virtue, especially when it comes to the Federal Arbitration Act § 1 exemption. We predicted uncertainty after the New Prime v. Oliveira decision and got it. See our Jan. 17, 2019, blog post on the exemption. Indeed, if anything, recent decisions have raised more questions than answers. Part of the problem stems from the fact that in New Prime the parties admitted that Oliveira worked in interstate commerce, so applicable…
The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that arbitration agreements must provide a “contractual basis for concluding that the part[ies] agreed to [class arbitration].” Reversing the Ninth Circuit, Chief Justice John Roberts found not only that the Court had jurisdiction over the case but also that the state law contract construction rule dealing with ambiguity applied by the Ninth Circuit was inconsistent with the Federal Arbitration Act core principle that consent of the…
Section 16(b) of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) is the provision that requires those participating in a federal claim for minimum wages or overtime to opt in to the class, making Rule 23 inapplicable. The same enforcement applies to claims under the Equal Pay Act (EPA), 29 U.S.C. Section 206(d). The EPA is itself the result of a 1963 amendment to the FLSA, predating Title VII’s prohibition on sex discrimination by several months but…
We’ve noted before that while conditional certification motions are often granted, such classes fare far less well at the second decertification stage and just as poorly on the eve of trial. See: “Ninth Circuit Affirms Decertification of FLSA Off-the-Clock Case” from Sept. 21, 2018, and “Ohio District Court Decertifies Class of Health Care Workers in Meal Break Case” from Feb. 12, 2013. The problem in many respects is that some courts will…
More games of cat and mouse Following the Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, 138 S. Ct. 1632 (2018), plaintiffs have tried to come up with strategies to address the impact of arbitration agreements in class and collective cases. (We blogged the Epic Systems decision here). Defendants, in turn, have had to address courts that have limited or that have refused to enforce such agreements despite the broad holdings in the Epic Systems…
A Sept. 27, 2018, Kentucky Supreme Court ruling found that mandatory arbitration agreements conditioned on employment were not enforceable. See Northern Kentucky Area Development District v. Snyder, No. 2017-SC-000277-DG. The opinion not only isolated Kentucky regarding its enforcement of arbitration agreements but also raised issues regarding the potential impact of Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) pre-emption. In the case, Danielle Snyder, who worked as an administrative purchasing agent, brought an action under the Kentucky Whistleblower…
As we indicated in a January 17, 2019 blog article, the New Prime v. Oliveira, 139 S. Ct. 532 (2019), opinion was likely to lead to uncertainty in the transportation industry.  Some imaginative commentators even forecast that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) Section 1 exemption could be a tool to unravel arbitration agreements with class waivers in a broad swath of companies that transport, carry or deliver goods or commodities.  We believe those commentators,…
The intersection of Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) collective action procedures and employee arbitration agreements waiving aggregate actions has led to differing approaches among the district courts. In JPMorgan Chase & Co. (Case No. 18-20825, decided Feb. 21, 2019), the Fifth Circuit found that a district court does not have “discretion to send or require notice of a pending FLSA collective action to employees who are unable to join the action because of binding arbitration…
Check your background check disclosure forms. Now. The Ninth Circuit has now declared that background check disclosure forms that include state law disclosures are illegal. Gilberg v. California Check Cashing Stores, LLC, Case No. 17-16263 (9th Cir. Jan. 29, 2019).…
Expert’s Report Didn’t Adequately Explain Causation While antitrust cases are often good candidates for class action treatment, it is still important for the plaintiffs to demonstrate a connection between the alleged anti-competitive conduct and the alleged harm, as a recent case from the Western District of Texas found. In Maderazo v. VHS San Antonio Partners, L.P., Case No. SA-06-CA-535-OG (W.D. Tex. Jan. 22, 2019), the plaintiffs were registered nurses working for hospitals in the…