Supreme Court Declines to Engage in the Interpretation of “Engaged in Commerce”

It is hornbook law that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) enforces pre-dispute arbitration agreements involving just a hint of interstate commerce. Section 1, however, has a carveout providing: “nothing herein contained shall apply to contracts of employment of seamen, railroad employees, or any other class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” The limited exception contained in section 1 has created a circuit split on the standard to use when determining whether an employee falls under the exemption’s residual clause.[1] On February 22, 2021, the Supreme Court, for the time being, refused to resolve the issue by denying Certiorari in, Inc. v. Rittman, No. 20-622.

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