NLRB Lawyer Backtracks on Answer to U.S. Supreme Court

By Greg Stohr, Bloomberg News

In an unusual letter to the U.S. Supreme Court, the National Labor Relations Board’s general counsel said he gave a series of inaccurate answers during a high-profile argument Monday on the rights of workers to file class-action lawsuits.

 During the session, Richard Griffin seemed to undercut his argument that workers must be allowed to press group claims even if they signed agreements to take disputes individually to arbitration. Responding to Chief Justice John Roberts, Griffin said workers could be forced into an arbitration forum that barred group claims involving 50 or fewer people. The answer left Justice Samuel Alito perplexed. “If that’s the rule, you have not achieved very much,” Alito said.

On Tuesday Griffin backtracked. His answers “were the result of my misunderstanding the chief justice’s questions and were inaccurate,” he wrote.

The correct answer, Griffin said, was the one given by Daniel Ortiz, a lawyer representing the workers in the case. Ortiz said workers had to be allowed to file joint complaints, even with a group 50 or smaller.

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