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April 9, 2009

Unions Can Waive Members’ Statutory Rights Through Collectively Bargained Arbitration Provisions


In a recent decision, 14 Penn Plaza v. Pyett, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the enforceability of arbitration provisions in collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) when the provisions "clearly and unmistakably" require employees to arbitrate statutory claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). By extension, the ruling could be later interpreted to permit arbitration of other types of statutory claims pursuant to collectively bargained arbitration provisions. The decision is considered good news for employers, because arbitration is generally viewed as less expensive and risky than civil litigation.

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