The U.S. Supreme Court started a new term on Monday, October 1st, with only eight justices, following the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy and the delayed confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The Court will have to make do with eight for the moment, but it has a lot of experience with that, having operated for months with eight justices after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016.
The previous term, covering October 2017 to June 2018, was a good one for employers, who won all three big employment cases the Court decided. In the Janus case, the Court ruled that the First Amendment prevented public employee unions from collecting fees from non-members for collective bargaining activities. In the Encino Motorcars case, the Court held that service advisors at car dealerships were exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act, and that exemptions did not have to be construed narrowly against employers. Finally, the Court decided in the Epic Systems case that arbitration agreements under which employees waived the right to bring class or collective actions did not violate the National Labor Relations Act, and could be enforced.
The Court will no doubt decide at least a few interesting cases involving labor and employment law issues in the new term, which should end in June of 2019. I’ll keep you posted.