U.S. Supreme Court Finds Arbitration Clause in CBA May Bar ADEA Claim

Friday, April 17, 2009
In a 5-4 decision, the United States Supreme Court has held enforceable a provision in a collective-bargaining agreement that "clearly and unmistakably" compels union members to arbitrate Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) claims.
14 Penn Plaza LLC et al. v. Pyett et al., (April 1, 2009).

The majority opinion favors employers by limiting the remedies available to union-represented employees claiming age discrimination.

The Court summarized its conclusion by stating, "The [National Labor Relations Act] provided the Union and the RAB with statutory authority to collectively bargain for arbitration of workplace discrimination claims, and Congress did not terminate that authority with respect to federal age discrimination claims in the ADEA. Accordingly, there is no legal basis for the Court to strike down the arbitration clause in the CBA, which was freely negotiated … and which clearly and unmistakably requires respondents to arbitrate the age discrimination claims at issue in this appeal. Congress has chosen to allow arbitration of ADEA claims. The Judiciary must respect that choice."

Supreme Court Decision re Arbitration Agreements in March, 2008
Supreme Court Decision re Arbitration Agreements in February, 2008
Supreme Court Decision re Arbitration Agreements in February, 2006
NLRB Rules that Mandatory Arbitration Policy is a Violation of NLRA
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