EPI: For Real Worker Power, End the Ban on Class and Collective Action Lawsuits

Labor News

Reprinted from the Economic Policy Institute Celine McNicholas on May 16, 2018.

“Uber made news [Tuesday] when the company announced that it will end mandatory arbitration for sexual harassment and assault complaints,” writes Celine McNichols for The Economic Policy Institute. “Lyft quickly followed suit and said that it would also do away with mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual misconduct claims. These companies are the latest in a growing number of corporations that have moved to eliminate mandatory arbitration agreements for sexual harassment claims. There is no doubt that these companies are being driven to action by the power of #MeToo and #TimesUp. And, while a move away from mandatory arbitration by firms like Uber and Microsoft should be celebrated as a victory for these movements, it is important to recognize that for women in low-wage jobs, challenging workplace sexual harassment and assault remains largely impossible, unless companies also end bans on class and collective action.

“Workers depend on class and collective actions to enforce many workplace rights. Employment class action cases have helped to combat race and sex discrimination and are fundamental to the enforcement of wage and hour standards. Without the ability to aggregate claims, it would be very difficult, if not impossible, for workers to find legal representation in these matters. This is particularly true for low-wage workers, whose cases are unlikely to involve large enough awards to attract attorneys to invest time in the case. That is the power of class and collective action suits: they let workers pool their claims, making it possible for an attorney to earn enough to make the case worth pursuing. …

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EPI 5/16

About Jeffrey Burman 4876 Articles
Jeff Burman represents assistant editors on the Guild’s Board of Directors. He can be reached at jeffrey.s.burman.57@gmail.com.

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