Lieff Cabraser partner Rachel Geman has written a piece for the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy (ACS) titled “Supreme Court Deals Blow to Employees Hoping to Hold Employers Accountable.” In the piece, Geman challenges the wisdom of the recent 5-4 Supreme Court ruling in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, where Justice Gorsuch’s majority opinion held that employees’ rights to cooperate in concerted activities under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) does not extend to participation in class and collective actions, substituting unfair forced arbitration for the right to have a case heard in open court.
As this decision subverts fundamental employee rights, Geman notes “We, as employee-side lawyers, will have to … push forward until there is a legislative fix at the federal level, or even if there won’t be a legislative fix.” Noting that forced arbitration brings the same negative consequences as nondisclosure mandates that force silence upon individuals who would otherwise bring forward just lawsuits, Geman highlights the importance of continued effort to try to bring justice to employees: “employee-side lawyers will not stop pushing to help employees who are underpaid and otherwise harmed.”
Geman points to local government as a possible new path, as well as increasing awareness of the negative consequences of the forced, confidential arbitration which silences employees, to expanding discussions of mass consumer action, and to searching for new ideas, allies and thinkers, including students and educators.
When it comes to the multiple sins of mandatory arbitration, “Bad employers don’t get the reputational hit of misconduct. Good employers don’t get the benefit. And all employees suffer this way,” observes Geman.
About the American Constitution Society
The American Constitution Society (ACS) is a progressive legal organization whose mission is to promote the vitality of the U.S. Constitution and the fundamental values it expresses: individual rights and liberties, genuine equality, access to justice, democracy and the rule of law.
The ACS believes the law should be a force to improve the lives of all people. ACS works for positive change by shaping debate on vitally important legal and constitutional issues through development and promotion of high-impact ideas to opinion leaders and the media; by building networks of lawyers, law students, judges and policymakers dedicated to those ideas; and by countering the activist conservative legal movement that has sought to erode our enduring constitutional values. Learn more at https://www.acslaw.org/
About Rachel Geman
A partner in Lieff Cabraser’s New York office, Rachel Geman’s practice is dedicated to employment law, consumer protection, and recovering money for the government lost to fraud through False Claims Act litigation. On behalf of her clients, Ms. Geman has filed qui tam suits in multiple courts involving numerous industries that are under investigation, and is presently involved in active litigation involving off-label and kickback claims in the pharmaceutical industry. Her current class action cases involve employment discrimination, consumer civil rights, and consumer protection.