— This is the script of CNBC's news report for China's CCTV on May 22, 2018, Tuesday.
This decision from Supreme Court, by a 5-4 vote, reflects different positions of Supreme Court judges and U.S. society to this controversial problem. The controversy is if employers can require employees to waive their rights to join a class-action suit when the employees sign labor contract. However, if the employers have rights to do so, then the employees must apply for arbitration on an individual basis when they have dispute with the employers, it is called as "Arbitration Clause". In general, class action mainly focuses on wage and working hours, etc. and this decision is definitely positive to companies. Because the class action may cause companies face huge compensations, and the lawsuits are harder to deal with than the lawsuits initiated by individual employees as plaintiffs.
In the Supreme Court, supportive judges, such as Justice Neil Gorsuch, wrote in the final statement that if workers were allowed to unite to make a request, then the dispute that can be resolved by simple, quick and low-cost arbitration will be replaced by long-time, inefficient and high-cost sue.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the opposition representative, said in a written dissent that this kind of decision is "egregiously wrong" as this decision will be huge under-enforcement of federal and state laws designed to advance the well-being of vulnerable workers and make the implementation of the legal minimum wage and anti-discrimination laws significantly less effective. The court decision is quite significant to labor market. Currently, in U.S., there are 25 million employees signed the "Arbitration Clause" on commencement stage, that means they can't sue collectively onwards. And this decision also caused violent opposition in U.S. society. For example, people from national labor relation board said that this court decision will cause a "disappointing effect" on employees who come to complain their company's unfair treatment.
And major media have also issued critical reports, for instance, the report title of 《New York》 is ""The Supreme Court has decided that workers are forbidden by the court forever." In addition, there are many lawyers worried that the impact of this ruling may also lead to broaden the scope of the "arbitration clause." Previously, the "arbitration clause" mainly deals with salary and working hours, but the ruling from the Supreme Court may lead companies to extend the scope of "arbitration clauses" to various issues such as office discrimination and sexual harassment.