Press Release

The Supreme Court’s Decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis et al Deals a Blow to Women in the Workplace

Posted on May 21, 2018 Issues: Workplace

(Washington, D.C.) Today, in a major blow to women’s ability to collectively enforce their rights at work, the Supreme Court decided in a 5-4 decision that forced individual employee arbitrations do not violate the National Labor Relations Act.

The following is a statement from Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center:

“Today, the Supreme Court has taken away a powerful tool for women to fight discrimination at work. Instead of banding together with coworkers to push back against sexual harassment, pay discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, racial discrimination, wage theft, and more, employees may now be forced behind closed doors into an individual, costly – and often secret– arbitration process. This will stack the deck in favor of the employer. For all working people, the right to join a class or collective action is an indispensable tool to advance fairness, justice, and equality at work. For women workers, however, the stakes are particularly high. Women often face discrimination that is difficult to detect, like pay discrimination, or suffer from sexual harassment and face retaliation for reporting it. As mandatory arbitration is forced on growing numbers of employees as a condition of employment, the Supreme Court should strengthen rather than undermine the rights of workers to challenge insidious and often widespread civil rights violations.”

The NWLC signed on to an amicus brief in this case in support of the respondents.

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For immediate release:  May 21, 2018
Contact:  Maria Patrick (mpatrick@nwlc.org)

The National Women’s Law Center is a non-profit organization that has been working since 1972 to advance and protect women’s equality and opportunity. The Center focuses on major policy areas of importance to women and their families including economic security, education, employment and health, with special attention given to the concerns of low-income women. For more information on the Center, visit: www.nwlc.org.

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