News & Commentary

March 31, 2022

Anita Alem

Anita Alem is a student at Harvard Law School.

On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral argument regarding whether a worker who has signed a private arbitration agreement, under which all legal disputes must be handled outside of court, may sue their employer in court under a California labor law that permits private people to bring a public enforcement action. The law, called the Private Attorneys General Act, authorizes private individuals to sue employers for California labor code violations; if the lawsuit is successful, the damages are split with the state. The Court considered whether the California labor law is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA), a 1925 law that the Court has interpreted broadly over the past several decades. Viking River Cruises was the second FAA case the Supreme Court heard this week, after Monday’s oral argument in Saxon regarding what class of workers are exempted from the FAA as interstate employees, as Tala reported on Tuesday.

The Bessemer, Alabama Amazon warehouse union election, which ran via mail from February 4 to March 25, had only 39% turnout according to the Retail, Wholesale, and Department Store Union (RWDSU). The election is the second attempt in the Bessemer warehouse. As Jon Levitan reported last November, the NLRB determined Amazon interfered within the previous election, which had 55% turnout, in part because Amazon installed a mailbox to intimidate workers into thinking the company would have access to union ballots. Ballot counting in this election will begin as early as Thursday.

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