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Monday, April 6, 2015

Employment Arbitration Growing to Defeat Class Actions

The Wall Street Journal reports "The percentage of companies using arbitration clauses to preclude class-action claims soared to 43% last year from 16% in 2012, according to a survey of nearly 350 companies conducted by management-side law firm Carlton Fields Jorden Burt LLP." "Lawyers agree that a 2011 Supreme Court case, AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, gave employers confidence that courts would uphold class-action waivers." The Wall St. Journal suggests the arbitral class waivers are lowering employers' litigation costs: "Class-action suits from workers cost employers $462.8 million in 2014, down from $598.9 million in 2011." The Journal article also suggests one issue in many of these cases is whether the employees are in fact employees are actually independent contractors. One lawyer for employees/contractors, Shannon Liss-Riordan, "is trying to wear down Arise by bringing claim after claim from different contractors. An arbitrator in Texas ruled in favor of one Arise worker in February, awarding her full damages and requiring Arise to pay her legal fees. Ms. Liss-Riordan hopes the company will decide facing dozens of individual cases is no longer
in its interests."