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eLABORate: Fifth Circuit Holds Employees Do Not Have a Right to Class Actions Under the NLRA

In two recent rulings, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit held that Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) “does not confer a substantive right to participate in class or collective action litigation.” Class or collective actions allow large groups of employees to collectively pursue similar employment-related lawsuits in court. Such actions are popular with the plaintiffs’ bar, and dreaded by employers because of the increased defense costs and potential liability from such litigation.

Arbitrator Must Rule on Independent Contractor Status of Uber Drivers in Class-Action Notwithstanding NLRA Bar to Class Action Waivers

Last week, a U.S. District Court Judge in Illinois ruled that an arbitration agreement signed by an Uber driver required arbitration on the issue of whether Uber drivers are employees or independent contractors before the driver could proceed with a wage and hour class action lawsuit against Uber. The Court’s decision raises an important exception to current law in the Seventh Circuit, holding that class action waivers in arbitration agreements with employees are invalid and unenforceable under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Certification of Alleged Misclassified Bakery Distributors Denied due to Predominance of Individualized Issues

Class certification would have been granted in Soares v. Flowers Foods, Inc., 3:15-cv-04918 (N.D. Cal., June 28, 2017), but for the allegedly misclassified independent contractors’ decision to deliver, or not deliver, the goods themselves.

New Supreme Court Term to Kick Off With Argument in Class Action Waiver Cases

On July 19, 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States released the October 2017 term’s calendar for oral arguments, including the date it will hear oral argument in the three consolidated class action waiver cases that are currently before the Court. The term will start on October 2, 2017, with the justices hearing a total of one hour of oral argument in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris.

Murphy Oil Case Scheduled for Oral Argument

In January, the United States Supreme Court granted certiorari in National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Case No. 16-307, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, Case No. 16-285 and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, Case No. 16-300, consolidating them for argument.

Court Says Uber Drivers Can Proceed With National Misclassification Class Action

A federal court judge in North Carolina last week granted permission to a group of Uber drivers challenging the company’s classification structure to band together and proceed with a class action lawsuit against the ride-hailing company. The drivers claim they are improperly labeled as independent contractors and should be entitled to minimum wage, overtime, and other wage and hour protections under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).

Class Action Trends Report Summer 2017

Our quarterly report discusses new developments in class action litigation and offers strategic guidance and tactical tips on how to defend such claims.

Fair Credit Reporting Act Developments: Increase in Class Action Litigation

Applicant background reports can be vital tools for employers, especially in the hiring process. However, amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act (“FCRA”) significantly increase the rights of applicants and employees to receive certain disclosures and to choose whether to authorize certain background reports. Given the increase in litigation over these issues, employers (as well as their attorneys and investigators) are well-advised to pay close attention to the detailed requirements of the FCRA.

Class Action Waiver Update: Will a Switch in Time Persuade Nine?

It was no surprise when, on June 16, 2017, numerous business and employer groups (including several represented by Ogletree Deakins) filed over a dozen amicus briefs supporting the employers in the three class action waiver cases pending in the Supreme Court of the United States: National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc., Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris.

Department of Justice Changes Stance on Class Action Waivers in Favor of Employers

In a fascinating turn of events, the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) switched sides in a critical pending Supreme Court case last Friday. The three consolidated cases—National Labor Relations Board v. Murphy Oil USA, Case No. 16-307, Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, Case No. 16-285 and Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, Case No. 16-300—have been closely watched as the Supreme Court is expected to resolve a growing circuit split over whether an employment contract that requires an employee to waive his or her right to bring or participate in a class action violates the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”).