The case of Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis was heard by the United States Supreme Court in 2018. The issue concerned whether businesses might ask their workers to sign mandatory arbitration prohibiting them from launching class or collective lawsuits against the company. The dispute began when three Epic Systems Corporation workers launched a class action lawsuit against their employer.
The complaint claimed that by making its employees sign arbitration agreements that barred them from launching class or collective actions against the business, Epic Systems had violated the National Labor Relations Act. The arbitration agreements were found to be illegal under the National Labor Relations Act, and the lower court decided in favour of the plaintiffs. The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit overturned the lower court’s decision after Epic Systems appealed it there. The plaintiffs subsequently filed an appeal with the US Supreme Court challenging the Seventh Circuit’s ruling. The National Labor Relations Act was not violated by the arbitration agreements, the Supreme Court found in a 5-4 ruling in favour of Epic Systems. The decision of the Supreme Court, therefore, holds the greatest precedence based on the fact that it is the highest court.
The critical facts of the case are that the three plaintiffs were employees of Epic Systems Corporation and that they had signed arbitration agreements which prevented them from taking on collective action against the company. The Court found that these arbitration agreements did not violate the aforesaid labour act, and thus Epic Systems Corporation was allowed to require its employees to sign them (Brady, 2019). The facts that were considered in the Court’s ultimate holding were the contents of the arbitration agreements and the provisions of the National Labor Relations Act.
Specific legal questions and the court’s answers
The specific legal questions presented to the Court were as follows: Whether employers can require their workers to sign agreements barring them from taking collective action against the employer and whether the arbitration agreements, in this case, violated the provisions of the labour act. The Court answered the first question in the affirmative and the second in the negative, finding that the arbitration agreements, in this case, did not violate the aforesaid act (Fernandez, 2019). The Court’s reasons for its decision were based on the Federal Arbitration Act. In this case, the Court found that the arbitration agreements would not prevent employees from bringing individual claims against their employer. The Court reasoned that the arbitration agreements would only prevent employees from bringing class or collective actions against their employer.
Significance of the case
The Court’s ruling in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis will likely have a significant impact on employment law and will make it more difficult for employees to bring class or collective actions against their employers. The Court’s ruling is also significant because it underscores the importance of arbitration agreements. These agreements are now more critical than ever, and employers should ensure that their employees understand the terms of these agreements. However, it is also noteworthy that some malicious employers may find it as an opportunity to prey on their employees with the confidence that the employees cannot gang up together to challenge their employer. Nevertheless, the supreme court decision appears to have been motivated by goodwill and based on a consideration of the relevant factors.
Impact of the case on our courts, government and citizens
The Epic Systems case has had a significant impact on the way that the courts resolve disputes between employers and employees. The case has made it more likely that disputes between employers and employees will be resolved through arbitration (Cunningham, 2021). The Epic Systems case has also significantly impacted how the courts interpret the National Labor Relations Act, resulting in a split among the courts on the law interpretation.
The Epic Systems case has significantly impacted our government and our citizens. The case has resulted in a split among the federal courts of appeals, with some courts finding that arbitration agreements like the one in Epic Systems are permissible and other courts finding that they are not. This split among the courts of appeals makes it more likely that the Supreme Court will hear another case on this issue in the future. The case has also had a major impact on employees, negatively impacting their ability to challenge workplace misconduct effectively and to obtain relief for themselves and others who have been harmed.
In conclusion, it is necessary to point out that I agree with the Court’s analysis. I think the Court was correct in finding that the arbitration agreements did not violate the National Labor Relations Act. I think the Court correctly interpreted the law, and its decision will help protect employers from frivolous lawsuits. However, it is also noteworthy that the employees may feel more prone to abuse, but they should realize that the law does not prohibit individual action against an abusive employer and, therefore, they should not be discouraged.
Brady, B. V. (2019). An Epic Change to Employment Law. J. Corp. L., 45, 245.
Fernandez, M. K. (2019). Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis: American Employees Suffer an Epic Loss in the Ongoing Arbitration Conflict. Loy. L. Rev., 65, 453.
Cunningham, E. (2021). An Epic Impact on Access to Justice? Saving Clause Challenges to Arbitration Agreements in Ninth Circuit District Courts before and after Epic Systems. S. Cal. Rev. L. & Soc. Just., 30, 143.