Recently, in a decision expected to have large-scale impact for companies and workers, the U.S. Supreme Court gave its approval to employment contracts that include class action waivers. Law.com spoke with Lieff Cabraser partner Kelly M. Dermody, Chair of the firm’s Employment Law practice group, about the case. As the journal notes, “Dermody is involved in some of the biggest labor and employment class actions around, and has long pushed companies to create and foster equal playing fields for all workers.”
“Arbitration has been actively used as an obstacle to employees getting their day in court for the last 20 years. This is not a new environment,” Dermody told Law.com. “Companies have been overreaching with mandatory arbitration. This will still happen. What has changed is that we have this high court acceptance in this case. It seems to bless a unique and horrible American practice that denies employees’ rights.”
Dermody observed that the decision comes at a time when the public is expanding its awareness of abuses in the workplace, particularly with regard to assault and sexual harassment.
“People are fed up,” she explains. “The legal watermark is high, but you are going to see a lot of backlash around arbitration. It’s a crazy convention that we have seen employers develop to prevent employees from getting into court. We now know how reckless it is. People want to have more transparency and accountability.”
About Kelly Dermody
The Chair of Lieff Cabraser’s employment practice group and Managing Partner of Lieff Cabraser’s San Francisco office, Kelly M. Dermody specializes in class and collective actions on behalf of plaintiffs in employment and consumer cases, including gender discrimination cases against Google, Microsoft, Sandia National Labs and Goldman Sachs. Her additional case work includes wage suppression claims against technology, healthcare, and academic institutions; overtime and lost pay lawsuits for low-wage workers, I/T professionals, and foreign nationals working for American corporations; and ERISA claims that she has tried on behalf of employees and retirees for pension plan abuses.