Neil Gorsuch just screwed the American worker. With the Epic Systems vs. Lewis ruling, which was written by Gorsuch, the Supreme Court hobbled the American worker’s ability to sue an employer who underpays them.
Basically, the employees of Epic Systems were claiming that they had been underpaid, and sued the company for “wage theft.” Individually the amounts were small and not worth the cost of a suit, but when all of them joined together for the class action, the claims were substantial. Their employers fought against the suit on the basis that the employees had all signed contracts limiting them to one-on-one arbitration.
However, the National Labor Relations Act of 1935 guarantees the workers have “the right to self-organization, to form, join, or assist labor organizations, to bargain collectively through representatives of their own choosing, and to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”
Gorsuch insists that class actions do not qualify as one of the “concerted activities” because they are not expressly mentioned. Justice Ginsburg wholeheartedly disagrees, and she accused Gorsuch of returning to the “Lochner Era.” She wrote a furious dissent:
“The edict that employees with wage and hours claims may seek relief only one-by-one does not come from Congress. It is the result of take-it-or-leave-it labor contracts harking back to the type called ‘yellow dog,’ and of the readiness of this Court to enforce those unbargained-for agreements. The FAA demands no such suppression of the right of workers to take concerted action for their ‘mutual aid or protections.”
Gorsuch’s Epic Systems decision will likely have immediate consequence for American workers because it “gives a free pass for companies to break the law” and “cheat workers with little risk that employees will enforce their rights.”
Just for giggles, watch a video from 2017 in which Gorsuch pretends he's totally on the side of "the little guys." HA!: