On June 10, 2013, the United States Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Oxford Health Plans v. Sutter, exhibiting a cautionary warning to employers and the particular terms they may want to include in the arbitration clauses of their employment agreements.
This case involved a situation where parties bargained for broad contractual language, stating specifically that any disputes were to be “submitted to final and binding arbitration.” The contract was silent concerning class arbitration. Sutter brought a class action claim against Oxford Health Plans. The parties agreed that the arbitrator would decide whether this broad contractual language would be inclusive of class arbitrations. The arbitrator ultimately found that since the language included the phrase “all such disputes,” class arbitrations were permitted.