The Supreme Court is currently reviewing three lower court rulings regarding employees’ right to bring class action lawsuits against employers. This is an important case for both employers and employees to monitor, because it could have a major impact on both sides.
The case also took a turn last week when the Trump Administration announced that they would be siding with employers in the case. This is a reversal from the stance taken by the Obama Administration, which defended the position of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that employment agreements requiring workers to waive their rights to bring class action claims against their employers are invalid.
It is rare for the government to change its position on a case already pending at the Supreme Court, and the move could impact the outcome of the lawsuit.
In a previous post, we wrote in more depth about employees waiving their rights to bring class action lawsuits against their employers. Such waivers compel employees to arbitrate disputes individually, rather than teaming up with co-workers in a lawsuit, which can discourage employees from taking legal action.
The Obama Administration’s role
The NLRB is arguing the case on behalf of employees. When Obama was president, the government backed the NLRB’s position and argued on behalf of employees.
The Trump Administration reversal
The Trump administration decided that it would not defend the position of the NLRB in the case. Although the NLRB is an agency of the federal government, it works independently to enforce United States labor laws in relation to collective bargaining and unfair labor practices. Following the Trump Administration’s court filing stating that they would no longer back the NLRB’s position in the case, the NLRB decided to have its own lawyer represent employees in arguments before the Supreme Court.
What exactly the Trump Administration’s decision means for the case remains to be seen, but its reversal makes an already interesting case that much more intriguing.