Statement of Joan Graff on the U.S. Supreme Court Decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis
The U.S. Supreme Court today issued a stunning decision, taking away the ability of workers to band together collectively to enforce their workplace rights. It did so by upholding the legality of “mandatory arbitration” clauses with class action waiver provisions. These provisions allow employers to circumvent the courts by forcing workers into closed-door proceedings where the deck is stacked against workers.
Millions of workers have already been forced to sign these unfair agreements. Many more will undoubtedly be forced to do so after today’s disastrous decision.
This ruling will be especially harmful to low-wage workers. Lacking bargaining power, they are particularly likely to be forced to sign take-it-or-leave-it contracts containing these provisions as a condition of employment. They are the most vulnerable to wage theft, discrimination, and harassment. And, given their low earnings, they routinely lack the means to hire lawyers to pursue their claims individually.
We cannot let this ruling stand. We call on Congress to fix this legal loophole, which renders fundamental workplace protections unenforceable as a practical matter. We further ask that you support our advocacy on behalf of low-wage workers, which was made even more necessary by today’s ruling.
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