Missouri Supreme Court weighing workplace arbitration cases

The Missouri Supreme Court heard three cases Tuesday involving fired workers looking to settle disputes with their former employers through the courts rather than arbitration.

Those cases come at a time of heightened focus on mandatory arbitration clauses. More businesses are requiring new hires to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of employment, and a growing number of fired workers are responding with litigation.

The U.S. Supreme Court has deemed the arbitration agreements generally enforceable, but opponents continue to challenge them.

In California last month, lawmakers approved several bills in response to the #MeToo movement, including one that prohibits the use of mandatory arbitration.

Two of the Missouri cases heard this week were brought by former employees of a Dollar General in Laclede County. Both signed arbitration agreements in 2012. Both were later fired and filed suit against the retailer. The employees then saw lower courts side with Dollar General and move their disputes to arbitration.

The third Missouri case involves Lewis Soars, who was fired by Easter Seals Midwest in St. Charles County in early 2016. Soars sued for discrimination and wrongful termination. The circuit court decided against the employer, allowing Soars’ case to move forward in court.

The Supreme Court could hand down decisions in the three cases at any time.

Read more: Missourinet


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