A National Labor Relations Board judge ruled that JP Morgan Chase & Co. unlawfully attempted to force five employees into binding arbitration after they joined a class action lawsuit alleging the bank violated the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), Outten & Golden LLP said today.
National Labor Relations Board Administrative Law Judge Steven Fish ruled that the bank violated Section 8(a)(1) of the National Labor Relations Act by maintaining agreements that require employees to give up their rights to bring legal claims collectively, and by filing a motion in U.S. District Court to dismiss employees' claims in a collective lawsuit.
The charging parties worked in Chase branches in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona. They are represented by Michael J. Scimone and Deirdre A. Aaron of Outten & Golden's New York office.
The underlying class action, "Lloyd, et al., v. JP Morgan Chase Co.," Case 12-CV-4844-VB, is pending in federal court in the Southern District of New York. In that proceeding, the employees allege that JPMC violated the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by failing to compensate Lloyd and others similarly situated for lawful overtime wages.
The judge ordered significant relief in the case, including a cease and desist order that Chase stop requiring employees to sign mandatory arbitration agreements that prohibit collective and class litigation, reimbursement of legal fees and expenses, and posting of related employee labor rights at Chase branches in California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona.
Michael J. Scimone said, "This decision reaffirms that joining a class action is protected activity under federal labor law even when employers attempt to force unlawful arbitration agreements upon employees. We and our clients are pleased with the judge's decision."
Deirdre A. Aaron said, "The law is clear: employers cannot force employees to contract away their rights to join together and litigate for proper wages. The judge clearly took the National Labor Relations Act seriously when he found that JP Morgan Chase violated federal law."
The NLRB cases are Nos. 02-CA-088471 and 02-CA-098118.