Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis

33

Does the National Labor Relations Act prohibit enforcement of an agreement requiring employees to resolve disputes with the employer through individual arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act?1


  1. We talked about this case in Episode 33. More information about the case can be found here

6-3 Epic

5-4 Epic

9-0 Epic

Case Outcome

5-4 Epic

Notes

In this case, the Court tries to resolve a conflict between the Federal Arbitration Act and the National Labor Relations Act. The Federal Arbitration Act states that arbitration agreements “shall be valid, irrevocable, and enforceable.” The National Labor Relations Act creates a civil right to employees “to engage in other concerted activities for the purpose of collective bargaining or other mutual aid or protection.”

In this case, the Plaintiff, Lewis, wants to create a class action against the Defendant, Epic. Epic forced its employees to sign an arbitration agreement that prevents class actions. Lewis argued, and the court below found, that forcing employees to sign arbitration that prevent class actions violates the National Labor Relations Act, which gives the employee the right to engage in concerted activities for their mutual aid or protection. Essentially, the class action is a concerted activity that the employer is violating.

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