Will the U.S. Supreme Court Protect the Rights of Older Workers?

Will the U.S. Supreme Court Protect the Rights of Older Workers?

When Congress passed the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 most lawmakers saw it as an extension of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Judges and juries throughout the United States helped to protect the rights of older workers. In fact, over the next two decades, lawmakers worked to make the legislation even stronger by banning mandatory retirement age and requiring employers who laid off employees to prove that they did not do so because of a person’s age.

Protecting the Rights of Older Workers

Starting in 1993, however, the pendulum began to move in favor of employers who chose to not hire older employees because of their age or not promote them. Many employers force employees to sign contracts saying that they would go to arbitration on firing decisions whether than taking the corporation into court. Now, the United States Supreme Court may be set to put an end to employees being able to argue in court about their wage, hour, working conditions, and job-status disputes under arbitration. While the Supreme Court’s decision will affect all workers, it may disproportionately affect older workers.

Epic Systems Corp v. Lewis

Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis was the very first case that the United States Supreme Court heard during the 2017-2018 term. Epic Systems and many other employers maintain that it is legal for them to have potential employees sign that they will take all employment matters to an arbitrator as an individual without being able to involve others in their class of workers. Therefore, if the court rules in their favor, older workers could no longer be able to band together to prove that an employer discriminated against them based on their age.

Effect on Older Workers if Epic Systems Corp. Wins

Lewis and those supporting the case against Epic Systems argues that the 1925 National Labor Relations Act protects their rights to gather together as a group. Furthermore, they argue that the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967 also protects these rights. If the United States Supreme Court, however, finds that employers can force potential employees to sign such agreements as a condition of their employment, then the National Labor Relations Board will become an ineffective entity.

If you feel that you have been discriminated against on the grounds of your age, then contact Utah attorney Rex B Bushman about protecting your rights quickly before they are taken away from you.