Supreme Court: Collective-bargaining agreements can force workers to arbitrate discrimination claims

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in Discrimination and Harassment,Human Resources

Employers typically would rather settle employees’ discrimination claims through arbitration, rather than let them go in front of a jury. And in many cases, collective-bargaining agreements require such claims to go to arbitration first. Lower courts had been split on whether that was legal.

Recently, in siding with employers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that union contracts could bind employees to arbitrate discrimination claims under federal law. The court ruled against a group of fired night watchmen in New York who wanted to pursue age discrimination lawsuits in court. Their union had agreed to arbitration, so the court said they must stick with that route. (14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, No. 07-581)

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