14 Penn Plaza LLC v. Pyett

Supreme Court of the United States

556 U.S. 247 (2009)

April 1, 2009

A provision in a collective bargaining agreement that clearly and unmistakably requires union members to arbitrate ADEA claims is enforceable so long as the provision is a "bargained-for exchange".

Relevant Facts

Several employees, Pyett, Connell and Phillips, worked for a maintenance service and cleaning contractor as night watchmen and security (the plaintiffs). The plaintiffs worked at 14 Penn Plaza (the defendant) as part of a collective bargaining agreement between their union, Local 32BJ, and the Realty Advisory Board on Labor Relations (RAB). The RAB represented the plaintiffs’ contractor, Temco Service Industries, Inc., as well as the defendant on labor matters. After being provided consent by Local 32BJ, the defendant hired a different unionized firm, Spartan Security, to provide licensed security guard services and subsequently re-assigned the plaintiffs to other positions in the same building, this time as night porters and light duty cleaners instead. As a result, the plaintiffs, being the only building employees over the age of 50, believed that the less desirable and less lucrative reassignments was a result of age discrimination. The plaintiffs requested Local 32BJ to file a grievance for the violation of the collective bargaining agreement as well as the alleged age discrimination, which were both subject to the defendant’s arbitration system. Instead of going to arbitration on the age discrimination issue, the plaintiffs pursued their claim in federal court under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA). The defendant argued that the arbitration agreement prevented the plaintiffs from bringing the claim in federal court.

Issue

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Holding & Reasoning

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Concurrence

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Dissent

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Last updated:

November 30, 2020

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Procedural History

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Citations

556 U.S. 247 (2009)