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SCOTUS Green Lights Class Action Waivers in Major Win for Employers

The United States Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that employees must submit claims to arbitration on an individualized basis when their employment agreements require it, even when those claims could be brought as class or collective action under federal legislation such as the Fair Labor Standards Act. Writing for the majority, Justice Neil Gorsuch held that parties to an arbitration agreement are bound by their agreement, as the Federal Arbitration Act envisioned. The Court cited the long history of supporting private arbitration agreements as an efficient and cost-effective means of handling disputes between parties, including parties to an employment agreement who have a dispute over wages. More ›

U.S. Supreme Court and State Legislatures Address Privacy Issues in the Workplace

A loaded question, admittedly, but the answer for the Supreme Court, once again, is no.

In Federal Aviation Administration v. Cooper, No. 10-1024 (March 28, 2012), the Supreme Court had to decide whether individuals may recover actual damages under the Privacy Act for sustaining mental or emotional distress. 5 U.S.C. §552a(g)(4)(A). Writing for the majority in a 5-3 decision, (which did not involve Justice Kagan), Judge Alito dispatched with all suspense by first declaring the holding that the Act does not provide for such remedies. The Privacy Act bears unique qualities. It covers the activities of Executive Branch agencies who hold confidential records. The Act permits an individual to file a civil suit against an agency over "intentional or willful" violations of the Act. 5 U.S.C. §552a(g)(1)(D) & 5 U.S.C. §552a(g)(4)(A). An individual can recover "actual damages" upon proving that an agency has violated the requirements of the Act "in such a way as to have an adverse effect on an individual". Id. More ›

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