Susan Fowler to justices: Arbitration agreements are unfair
- Tech Crunch reports that lawyers for Susan Fowler, the ex-Uber engineer who went public with sexual harassment claims against the company, filed amicus briefs in several cases asking the U.S. Supreme Court justices to consider ending arbitration agreements.
- Fowler's legal team argues that arbitration agreements violate federal labor law by preventing employees from taking companies to court and joining collective and class action lawsuits, according to Tech Crunch. Adjudicators decide arbitration disputes, the outcome of which is confidential and final. Details in the cases are not made public.
- Uber is among the 80% of tech employers who use arbitration agreements.
Employers, including the Trump Organization, often use arbitration agreements to avoid long and costly lawsuits and the risk of losing in court. The costs can be much greater when a court case becomes a class action suit. But those opposed to the agreements say they are a way for companies to sweep personnel issues under the rug.
Courts have come down on both sides of the arbitration agreement issue, leaving employers with no clear guidance. But in June, the U.S. Department of Justice switched its position by coming out in favor of arbitration. The agency has done the same in other areas of the law, as well.
The impending High Court rulings on arbitration will be important ones for employers. And while the Court could, of course, rule either way on the issue, the newest justice's stance seems to be clear, as Neil Gorsuch has previously expressed approval of such agreements.