Court upholds Murphy Oil employment arbitration policy

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By Vincent Taylor,

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals recently upheld Murphy Oil USA’s policy of
requiring employees to sign an arbitration agreement that waived the workers’
right to file class-action, work-related lawsuits. The decision was a blow to
the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which had earlier ruled that the
company’s policy violated the National Labor Relations Act.

But as part of the court’s Oct. 26 decision, the court required the oil company
to place language in its arbitration agreements clarifying that workers hired
before March 2012 were not barred from taking their disputes to the NLRB. The
company already had such language in an arbitration agreement that applied to
workers hired after March 2012.

The employment law firm Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP said the court’s ruling
means that arbitration agreements should be carefully worded and that “class
action waivers should include a statement that the arbitration agreement does not
prohibit employees from filing administrative claims.”

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