A wonderful article by three attorneys with the law firm of Littler Mendelson published in April 2009 (http://www.jdsupra.com/post/fileServer.aspx?fName=6d09ed2c-c256-4b64-bf6f-1a4f48e59321.doc), highlights a case the upheld a significant change in the rights of union-represented employees.
The article titled, “The Supreme Court Opens the Door to Mandatory Arbitrations of Discrimination Claims for Union Members,” discusses 14 Penn Plaza L.L.C. v Pyett, a U.S. Supreme Court decision, which upheld the ability for an employer and union to agree that employees can be required to arbitrate their employment discrimination and/or retaliation claims under the terms of a collective bargaining agreement.
The article highlights why this decision is so important—namely because it allows employers with unionized workforces to drastically reduce the number of claims they have to litigate in court. While the court’s decision in 14 Penn Plaza is limited to claims arising under the ADEA (i.e., age discrimination), the reasoning used by the Court is likely to be applied to a broad range of federal, state, and local employment statutes.
For more information on this topic, I encourage you to read the original article highlighted above.