Cleary Gottlieb Files Civil Rights Brief in Supreme Court

August 4, 2008

Cleary Gottlieb filed an amicus brief in the U.S. Supreme Court to affirm the right of individual employees to pursue federal statutory anti-discrimination claims in court even if the individuals are subject to a collective bargaining agreement that provides for grievance and arbitration of discrimination complaints. The brief was filed in conjunction with The Lawyers’ Committee For Civil Rights Under Law on behalf of a consortium of civil rights groups in 14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett (No. 07-581). The employees filed a federal age discrimination lawsuit against their employer after the union declined to pursue their claims. The lower courts, relying on prior Supreme Court decisions, denied the employer’s motion to compel arbitration. Cleary Gottlieb’s brief argued in support of that precedent that allowing a collective bargaining agreement to waive an individual’s access to federal court would undermine the anti-discrimination statutes.