U.S. Supreme Court

Case Status


Docket Number



2008 Term

Oral Argument Date

December 01, 2008


Questions Presented

Is an arbitration clause contained in a collective bargaining agreement, freely negotiated by a union and an employer, which clearly and unmistakably waives the union members’ right to a judicial forum for their statutory discrimination claims, enforceable?

Case Updates

Supreme Court rules to enforce arbitration clauses in collective bargaining agreements

April 01, 2009

The Supreme Court agreed with NCLC that courts must enforce arbitration clauses in collective bargaining agreements. The Supreme Court held that federal labor law gives unions the authority to bargain for arbitration of discrimination claims, and Congress did not eliminate that authority when it passed the ADEA.

U.S. Chamber files amicus brief

May 12, 2008

NCLC urged the Supreme Court to hold that a collective bargaining agreement’s arbitration clause purporting to waive the union members’ right to a judicial forum for statutory discrimination claims is enforceable. In this case, the union and employer had bargained for a provision that clearly and unmistakably required union members to arbitrate claims arising under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act. NCLC argued that the Second Circuit erred in concluding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Alexander v. Gardner-Denver requires a per se rule barring enforcement of such arbitration provisions. Although NCLC agrees that substantive rights may not be waived in predispute arbitration agreements, the Court has made clear that the procedural right to a judicial forum may be exchanged for access to arbitration. Moreover, the lower court failed to recognize that the Court’s jurisprudence under the Federal Arbitration Act supports a presumption of arbitrability. NCLC argued that the enforceability of judicial forum waivers is important to encourage unions and employers to support arbitration agreements.

Case Documents