Many employees are asked to sign employment contracts prior to working with a company. Anyone who is ever asked to sign this type of contract should carefully read the fine print. This is more important now than ever before due to a recent Supreme Court ruling that could affect thousands of workers in Oklahoma.
Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis
Epic Systems, a healthcare software company, required their employees to sign arbitration agreements in 2014. The agreement stated that employees were required to settle legal disputes with their employer in individual arbitration instead of joining forces with other employees and filing a class action lawsuit. But unfortunately, many employees did not understand that they were signing their rights away.
The case eventually ended up before the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of Epic Systems. The court ruled that employers are allowed to require employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements, which prohibit them from filing class action lawsuits or taking any other legal action against their employers.
How the Ruling Will Impact Employees in Oklahoma
The Supreme Court’s decision strips many employees in Oklahoma of the right to file class action lawsuits against their employers. These employees must handle issues related to wage and hour disputes or discrimination allegations one-on-one with their employer in arbitration.
Many workers prefer filing a class action lawsuit instead of going to arbitration because it’s not as intimidating to speak out against your employer when you are part of a group. In addition, employees often feel more vulnerable to retaliation when they are taking legal action on their own. For these reasons, the recent ruling could prevent a lot of victims of discrimination and wage and hour violations from seeking the justice they deserve.
Plus, the arbitration process typically benefits the employer, not the employee. Multiple studies have shown that employees win more legal cases against their employer in court than in arbitration. This is one of the many reasons why experts believe this ruling was a huge win for employers.
However, it’s important to note that this ruling only affects workers that have signed a mandatory arbitration agreement. Workers who have not signed an arbitration agreement still have the right to file class action lawsuits.
Have your rights been violated in the workplace? If so, contact Armstrong & Vaught, P.L.C. at once. Let our skilled attorneys determine the best way to take legal action against your employer so you can seek the justice you deserve. Call us now at 918-582-2500, toll free at (800) 722-8880, or contact us online for a free consultation with an experienced attorney.