Scott & Nadler Reintroduce the Restoring Justice for Workers Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, House Education and Labor Committee Chairman Robert C. “Bobby” Scott (VA-03) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10) introduced the Restoring Justice for Workers Act, legislation to end forced arbitration clauses and protect workers’ ability to pursue work-related claims in court.
The bill would overrule the 2018 Supreme Court decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis that allowed employers to continue to require workers to sign forced arbitration clauses. These arbitration clauses, which are often buried in the fine print of employment contracts, prevent workers from banding together to enforce their legal rights. The use of forced arbitration clauses that block workers’ access to the courts has led to widespread non-enforcement of workers’ rights, including their right to minimum wage, overtime, and to a workplace free of discrimination and sexual harassment.
“Workers should not be coerced into signing away their rights as a condition of their employment. Unfortunately, that is the reality for millions of workers across the country. Employers are increasingly using mandatory arbitration agreements to deny employees a fair venue to seek recourse for wage theft, discrimination, or harassment. The Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis went further by undermining workers’ rights to file joint, class, or collective legal actions. The Restoring Justice for Workers Act would help restore employees’ fundamental rights to have their day in court and join with their co-workers to hold employers accountable for unlawful conduct,” said Chairman Scott.
“For far too long, corporations have used mandatory arbitration clauses—which are often buried in the fine print of employment contracts—to tie the hands of American workers and strip them of their right to take employers to court when their rights are violated,” said Chairman Nadler. “Victims of wage theft, discrimination, harassment, and other forms of corporate abuse and misconduct deserve their day in court. I’m proud to join Chairman Scott to introduce the Restoring Justice for Workers Act to finally put an end to this exploitation of workers and ensure they have equal protection under the law.”
The Restoring Justice for Workers Act:
- Opens the courthouse doors for workers by prohibiting the use of forced arbitration clauses in employment contracts and prohibiting employers from requiring employees to waive their right to engage in joint, class, or collective legal action;
- Reverses the Supreme Court’s 5-4 decision in Epic Systems, which dismantled workers’ right to band together to hold unscrupulous employers accountable;
- Protects our democracy by ensuring that the laws Congress passes to protect workers’ rights are enforceable through our justice system; and
- Ensures that post-dispute arbitration agreements are not obtained by threat or coercion, that the agreement is understandable, and that the employee affirmatively consents to the agreement in writing and is fully aware of their rights in the workplace.
In addition to Representatives Scott and Nadler, the bill is cosponsored by Representatives David N. Cicilline (D-RI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jim Cooper (D-TN), Danny K. Davis (D-IL), Val Demings (D-FL), Ted Deutch (D-FL), Adriano Espaillat (D-NY), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Mondaire Jones (D-NY), Jim Langevin (D-RI), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR), Brenda Lawrence (D-MI), Betty McCollum (D-MN), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.), Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Bobby Rush (D-IL), Mary Gay Scanlon (D-PA), Jan Schakowsky (D-IL), Eric Swalwell (D-CA), Mark Takano (D-CA), Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Henry C. "Hank" Johnson, Jr. (D-GA), Julia Brownley (D-CA), Frederica Wilson (D-FL), Andy Levin (D-MI), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Donald Norcross (D-NJ), Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM), Raúl M. Grijalva (D-AZ), Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), John Yarmuth (D-KY), Alma S. Adams (D-NC), and Lucy McBath (D-GA).
To read the bill text for the Restoring Justice for Workers Act, click here.