Relying on the controversial D.R. Horton case, the NLRB ruled that gas station chain Murphy Oil’s arbitration agreements barring employees from pursuing class actions were unlawful. Three pro-Union Board Members ruled that the gas station violated the law by requiring employees to resolve employment claims in individual arbitration and seeking to enforce its agreements in court after a former employee filed a wage and hour lawsuit in court. As a reminder, D.R. Horton holds that arbitration agreements that are signed as a condition of employment and preclude workers from bringing joint, class, or collective claims over working conditions, are unlawful.
A scathing dissent from a pro-Company Board Member states, “with this decision, the majority effectively ignores nearly 40 Federal and State courts that, directly or indirectly, all recognize the flaws of the Board’s use of a strained, tautological reading of the National Labor Relations Act in order to both override the Federal Arbitration Act and ignore the commands of other federal statutes. This decision continues the cat and mouse game of the NLRB consistently invalidating arbitration agreements and forcing companies to appeal to the federal court system to enforce the agreements. I fully expect Murphy Oil to succeed on appeal and the plaintiff to be forced to withdraw her complaint in court and subject herself to the confines of the arbitration agreement.
Matt Austin is a lawyer based in the Columbus, Ohio office of Roetzel & Andress, LPA who limits his practice to representing employers dealing with labor, employment, and OSHA matters. You can call Matt at (614) 723-2010 or email him at email@example.com.