Appeals court sides with employers on arbitration

WASHINGTON — A federal appeals court has ruled that employers can require their workers to sign arbitration agreements waiving all rights to class action lawsuits over workplace grievances.

The ruling from the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturns a National Labor Relations Board decision last year. The board had found that such agreements conflicted with federal law giving workers the right to pursue collective action to complain about workplace conditions.

The court’s ruling is a victory for businesses that want to limit legal exposure from the rising cost of class action lawsuits over unpaid overtime and other wage violations. But it’s a blow to workers who find it easier to band together when challenging the policies at a large company.

An NLRB spokesman says the agency is reviewing the decision.

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