Supreme Court Justice Neal Gorsuch used his stolen Supreme Court seat to carry the day for corporations against workers in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, ruling that employers could force potential employees to sign away their legal right to participate in class action suits as a condition of employment.
This means that in cases of wage-theft, unsafe working conditions and systematic harassment, workers would not be able to band together to sue gigantic corporations whose net worth dwarfs their own a millionfold or more, and would have to individually pay lawyers to argue each of their cases, one at a time.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg took the rare step of reading her dissent from the bench, calling the majority opinion in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis "egregiously wrong."
"The court today holds enforceable these arm-twisted, take-it-or-leave-it contracts — including the provisions requiring employees to litigate wage and hours claims only one-by-one. Federal labor law does not countenance such isolation of employees," she said.
In the majority opinion, Gorsuch maintained the "decision does nothing to override" what Congress has done.
"Congress has instructed that arbitration agreements like those before us must be enforced as written," he said.
Supreme Court sides with employers in class action arbitration cases [Ariane de Vogue and Maegan Vazquez/CNN]