The 8th Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Minnesota employers, has ruled that an employee who previously agreed to waive her right to file a class-action overtime lawsuit does indeed have to rely on individual arbitration of her claim. That’s despite recent National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) decisions that claim such waivers are invalid.
Recent case: Sharon worked as an administrator for a chain of nursing homes. She was classified as exempt, so she didn’t earn extra pay for working more than 40 hours per week. When she was hired, Sharon signed an agreement promising to take any employment-related problems to arbitration rather than court. The agreement also waived Sharon’s right to participate in class-action litigation, but acknowledged her right to complain about working conditions or alleged discrimination to the EEOC, the NLRB or any other state or federal agency.
Sharon went to federal court seeking certification on behalf of a class of fellow employees who were allegedly wrongly classified as exempt. The nursing home company asked the court to send the case to individual arbitration instead of certifying it as a class action in federal court.
The lower court said the agreement Sharon had signed was invalid, but the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned that decision. It concluded that, as long as Sharon was free to go to various agencies with her complaint and those agencies could file class-action lawsuits, the arbitration agreement was legal. Sharon can only complain about her individual case—and only in arbitration. (Owen v. Bristol Care, No. 12-1719, 8th Cir., 2013)
Final note: If you have an existing arbitration agreement, make sure it is broad enough to take advantage of this ruling. Get expert help from your attorney.
Like what you've read? ...Republish it and share great business tips!
Attention: Readers, Publishers, Editors, Bloggers, Media, Webmasters and more...
We believe great content should be read and passed around. After all, knowledge IS power. And good business can become great with the right information at their fingertips. If you'd like to share any of the insightful articles on BusinessManagementDaily.com, you may republish or syndicate it without charge.
The only thing we ask is that you keep the article exactly as it was written and formatted. You also need to include an attribution statement and link to the article.
" This information is proudly provided by Business Management Daily.com: http://www.businessmanagementdaily.com/34618/ask-your-attorney-about-class-action-waivers "
- When disgruntled employees act as their own lawyers, patience may be your winning strategy
- Supersensitive employees? Don't treat with kid gloves
- Former HR exec wins $9 million in gender-Bias lawsuit
- Draw line on harassing behavior, even against top company execs
- Bargaining with labor unions in a changing work environment