A recent Supreme Court ruling found that federal courts cannot force interstate transportation workers into having an arbitration hearing to resolve workplace disputes. Employees are often forced to sign arbitration agreements with their employer, which usually forces them to pursue any legal claims such as discrimination, wrongful termination, and breach of contracts, through arbitration instead of a lawsuit. Arbitration claims are presented to and decided by an arbitrator as opposed to a jury which is often viewed as a disadvantage for the plaintiff since juries tend to be more sympathetic towards employees.
In this ruling specifically, the courts found that a judge should be the one deciding if a transportation worker, whether employee or contractor, should be exempt from specific rights and not an arbitrator. Additionally, the court also ruled that interstate transportation workers with employment agreements as well as interstate transportation workers with independent contractor agreements should have a right to trial by jury. This would significantly impact almost 1 million drivers nationwide by allowing them to band together and file class and collective action lawsuits against their employers in state and federal courts.
Even though you have signed an arbitration agreement at work does not necessarily mean you no longer have a right to a trial by jury to resolve your dispute. If you are a driver and have questions or concerns about an employment matter and would like to know if your arbitration agreement may affect your case, please call Fitapelli & Schaffer, LLP for a free phone consultation. We can be reached at (212)300-0375 or you can find additional information on our website.