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Federal Employment Case Update: Pizza and Beer

by Richard Birke
April 2015

JAMS ADR Blog by Chris Poole

Richard Birke

Members of Certified Class Lack Standing to Challenge Class Arbitration Ban
Conners v. Gusano’s Chicago Style Pizzeria
United States Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit

When Jacqueline Conners brought a class action lawsuit against her employer Gusano’s (alleging unlawful tip pooling practices), Gusano’s instituted an arbitration policy that required individual arbitration of any disputes. Conners filed a motion seeking to have the court declare the new policy invalid because it interfered with the right of class members to communicate with other potential class members. The trial court found this persuasive and granted the motion. Gusano’s appealed.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit vacated the lower court’s order, finding that Conners and the other members of the class lacked standing to contest a work requirement that did not apply to them. The Court wrote that “the former employees cannot gain standing here by defending the rights of current employees, not yet joined in the action.”

Biography


Richard Birke is a JAMS consultant and has taught dispute resolution for more than 20 years. He is a law school professor and director of the Center for Dispute Resolution at Willamette. Under his leadership, CDR has enjoyed more than a decade of high national rankings in the US and is the 2012 winner of the Ninth Circuit ADR Education Award. Mr. Birke is a two-time award-winning author, as well as an ADR neutral, consultant and trainer. 



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Website: www.willamette.edu/wucl/faculty/profiles/birke/index.html

Additional articles by Richard Birke

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