In one of the most closely watched Supreme Court decisions of the session, Colorado’s Neil Gorsuch penned the majority opinion in a case that pitted the lawsuit industry and unions against America’s job creators. At issue was whether non-union workers, who agree to use individual arbitration in the terms of their employment agreements, would be able to unite and pursue class action litigation against their employer, effectively tossing their employment agreement out the window. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you….
Like so many other class action lawsuits, these claims do little more than enrich trial lawyers at the expense of the company, its employees, and its customers. The individual claims are de minimis, yet the totality of the claim is material, with the lawyers taking home up to fifty percent of the settlement for their “time and effort”. It is plain to see why such outlets such as Salon.com and NPR are outraged by this decision.
Nothing in the decision prevents a worker, as an individual, from going after an employer in arbitration, alone, just as the worker and the employer agreed to at the outset of their employment arrangement. Had the Supreme Court voted to move the goal posts on these private contracts between employers and employees, it would have set a dangerous precedent. Albeit a precedent perfectly acceptable to the Democrats and their masters at the trial bar.
As Colorado continues to lead America’s economy into an information and technical services based one, our labor laws, written a generation or more ago, become more disconnected with the working realities of the employer-employee relationship with every passing day. We can be thankful that we have a federal judiciary that is keen on protecting common sense contracts and preventing the US from becoming another “workers paradise,” because we know those places don’t have many productive workers, and they can hardly be described as “paradise.”