Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Supreme Court Nominee Amy Coney Barrett Is an Enemy of Workers

No surprise, this is one of the key attributes of conservative judges.

    Walker Bragman
    David Sirota 

Sept. 27, 2020

Just weeks before President Donald Trump reportedly selected her to fill the new Supreme Court vacancy, Judge Amy Coney Barrett delivered a ruling that could help corporations evade long-standing laws requiring them to provide overtime pay to their workers.

That ruling was one of a number of cases in which Barrett helped corporate interests prevail over workers. Her highest-profile business-focused actions on the federal bench have limited the enforcement of age-discrimination laws, restricted federal agencies’ power to punish companies that mislead consumers, and reduced consumers’ rights against predatory debt collectors, according to a recent report from the Alliance for Justice.

Barrett’s August ruling in the overtime case is particularly significant: it comes as technology companies have been trying to use mandatory arbitration clauses to avoid better remunerating so-called gig workers. Those provisions often force worker disputes to be decided by private arbitrators handpicked by the companies, rather than in an impartial court of law.

Corporate lobbying groups in Washington focused on court nominees have long been promoting forced arbitration as a way to prevent workers from exercising their rights through class action lawsuits.

In the coming years, the Supreme Court could play a pivotal role in deciding whether existing worker protection laws apply to the larger and larger share of American workers that companies are trying to subject to mandatory arbitration and classify as independent contractors — even when those workers are toiling full-time for those employers.


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