14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett, 556 U.S. 247, 129 S. Ct. 1456 (2009)

Plaintiffs, members of the Service Employees International Union (the “SEIU”), filed a complaint with the EEOC alleging age discrimination under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act and, after receiving their right-to-sue letters, filed suit against their employer alleging age discrimination. In response, the employer filed a motion to compel arbitration of the claims pursuant to the Federal Arbitration Act on the ground that the collective bargaining agreement negotiated by the SEIU required union members to submit all claims of employment discrimination to binding arbitration. The district court denied the employer’s motion to compel arbitration on the ground that “even a clear and unmistakable union-negotiated waiver of a right to litigate certain federal and state statutory claims in a judicial forum is unenforceable.” The Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the ruling, but the United States Supreme Court reversed, holding that such a provision is enforceable as a matter of federal law. (Paul Salvatore of Proskauer Rose LLP’s New York office successfully argued this case on behalf of the employer.)