In 1988, 15 women in a ground-breaking case filed a class-action sexual harassment suit against the Eveleth Taconite mine in Minnesota. They sued Eveleth Taconite on the grounds of a hostile work environment, which included abusive language, threats, and stalking. The employees settled for $3.5 million. Almost two decades later, in a Supreme Court case decided in 2011, 1.6 million women employed by Walmart sued the company. They alleged that Walmart discriminated against women with pay and promotion opportunities.
Supreme Court in Favor of Arbitration Clauses
In both cases, women united to stand up to their employers and take legal action. With the recent ruling by the Supreme Court, employees are now prohibited from banning together to take legal action over workplace issues through arbitration clauses in their contracts. The ruling was passed with a 5-4 vote; all three female justices dissented. Justice Neil Gorsuch cited the past rulings of the court in favor of arbitration and claimed if workers joined forces to file cases, the benefits of arbitration, like promptness, straightforwardness and cost-effectiveness, would not exist.
According to the Economic Policy Institute, this will affect 25 million contracts. Labor lawyers affirm that employers will add provisions to employee contracts simply because they know that the courts will support arbitration law. The ruling also affects the rights of workers to come forward together with charges of wage inequality, wage theft, and racial and sexual discrimination in the workplace. With an increase in sexual harassment cases because of the MeToo movement, which supports survivors and fights to end sexual harassment, this ruling could be a setback for cases following this Supreme Court decision.
Arbitration Clauses Render Victims Powerless
According to the general counsel at the National Employment Law Project (NELP), if a woman has an arbitration clause in her contract and is being sexually harassed, she has no power. She believes that by disallowing workers to come together publicly, this decision will keep sexual harassment and discrimination practices in the dark. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg proclaimed that it is often not financially worthwhile and potentially dangerous for individuals to file suit on their own. She also stated that the decision is shamefully wrong and that lawmakers need to correct the Arbitration Act and allow workers to act collectively.
Montgomery County Sexual Harassment Lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. Help Sexual Harassment Victims Seek Justice
If you have experienced sexual harassment or discrimination in the workplace, contact the Montgomery County sexual harassment lawyers at Sidney L. Gold & Associates, P.C. for legal assistance. We understand that it is difficult to know how to respond to workplace discrimination or harassment. Located in Philadelphia, we proudly serve clients from the surrounding areas, including Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, and Montgomery County. For a free consultation, contact us online or call us at 215-569-1999.