Michele Gilman, the Venable Professor of Law in the University of Baltimore School of Law and director of its Saul Ewing Civil Advocacy Clinic and co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism, writes in Salon that the Supreme Court’s decision in the Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis case may exacerbate a number of hot-button topics in the American workplace, including the problem of unpaid hours and the misclassification of employees. The growing #MeToo movement also takes a hit from this decision, she says.
“As a law professor who directs a clinical legal program that regularly represents low-wage workers, I believe this ruling essentially allows employers to hide workplace injustices while also potentially making it harder for workers—including victims of sexual harassment—to find justice,” Prof. Gilman writes.
In her analysis of the decision’s ramifications, Gilman points to the influence of Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch, author of the majority opinion.
“In my view, his opinion rests on a view of the workplace that few workers would recognize,” Prof. Gilman writes. “In Gorsuch’s world, employers and employees have equal bargaining power and mutually agree to arbitrate disputes.”
She argues that worker arbitration is a difficult, expensive proposition, and Epic Systems will result in spotty enforcement of existing laws because of these obstacles.
“In other words, as employers gain impunity from liability, wage violations will increase,” Prof. Gilman writes. “Workers will suffer.”
Read the Salon piece.