The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) joined with 24 other organizations to submit an amicus brief to the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. The D.R. Horton company has appealed a major decision of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) holding that employees have an inalienable right to bring collective and class action lawsuits.

At stake

This week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a major decision holding that employees have an inalienable right to bring collective and class action lawsuits. The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) joined with the National Employment Lawyers Association (NELA) and other groups in an amicus brief to urge the NLRB to reach this decision.

This

Forced arbitration is when employees faced with an issue at work are forced to have an arbitration instead of being able to go to court with a fair judge and jury. Often times, as a condition of employment, employers will not hire a worker, or could possibly fire a worker, unless they “consent” to an arbitration clause. Other times it is just assumed that employees agreed to it if they continue to work for their employer after an arbitration policy is announced.

Arbitrators are not judges. They do not need to know the law or have any relevant experience. Even though the arbitrators are not judges, their decisions are final. Also, there are no appeals for arbitrator decisions. They do not have to justify their decisions and the process takes place behind closed doors with no public record. The arbitrators charge parties for their services and often work for the same employer numerous times, tipping the odds significantly in the favor of the employer. One arbitrator and retired trial judge even stated, “You would have to be unconscious not to be aware that if you rule a certain way, you can compromise your future business.”


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The National Whistleblowers Center (NWC) joined with 26 other organizations to submit an amicus brief to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). At stake is the right of employees to join together for collective and class actions. This long-recognized right is under attack by forced arbitration agreements in which companies demand that all their employees

On Wednesday, March 16, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit in Denver, Colorado, issued a decision that reaffirms the rights of union members to sue under federal law. The issue most frequently affects the right of union members to bring claims under Title VII for discrimination on the basis of race, gender, religion and national origin. However, it could also affect claims under federal whistleblower laws. The issue had long been settled that when Congress creates individual rights, then workers could not lose those rights merely because they belong to a union that can pursue grievances through arbitration. The Supreme Court settled this issue in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver Co., 415 U.S. 36 (1974). In 2009, however, the Supreme Court unsettled this issue with its decision in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 129 S. Ct. 1456 (2009).


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U.S. District Court Judge Douglas Woodlock issued an order yesterday that applies a ban on arbitration agreements retroactively. Congress enacted the ban as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.  Section 922 of the Dodd-Frank Act amends the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) to say that, “No predispute arbitration agreement shall be valid

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati has issued a remarkable non-published decision reinstating retaliation claims by Alan and Kimberly Alonso against Huron Valley Ambulance (HVA) of Ann Arbor, Michigan.  The decision is remarkable no so much for what it holds as for its break from the prevailing judicial trend favoring arbitration. The Court’s precise holding is that the Alonsos did not make a "knowing and intelligent waiver" of their right to go to court when they signed HVA’s form employment agreement incorporating a "grievance review board" that was based on documents HVA did not provide until weeks after the Alonsos started work.


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Last week the U.S. Senate boldly voted 68-30 to include Sen. Al Franken’s amendment to the Department of Defense Appropriations Act. Ten Republicans voting in favor of it. This amendment, SA 2588 to H.R. 3326, would bar defense contractors from imposing forced arbitration clauses on their employees for Title VII violations and sexual assault tort