On October 28, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued its decision in Murphy Oil USA Inc., once again attempting to prohibit employers from requiring employees to enter into agreements to arbitrate employment disputes if those agreements preclude collective or class action litigation. As we have blogged about in the past, this new decision runs contrary to an overwhelming majority of federal district and appellate court decisions rejecting and criticizing the Obama NLRB’s previous attempt to so extend the law. A copy of the Murphy Oil USA decision can be found here.
In Murphy Oil, the NLRB split 3-2 along party lines, with the majority finding that gas station chain Murphy Oil’s arbitration agreements were unlawful. In so doing, the NLRB reaffirmed its controversial January 2012 DR Horton ruling, where the Board ruled that such agreements conflict with employees’ rights to engage in concerted activity under the National Labor Relations Act. The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals refused the enforce the Board’s order, and the NLRB declined to seek review from the U.S. Supreme Court. In what some might say is refusing to take “no” for an answer, the NLRB is trying to resurrect its DR Horton decision.