Continuing on our recent theme of conflicting rules on class issues, Judge Kimba Wood of the Southern District of New York ruled March 3 (PDF) that Ernst & Young could not enforce a provision in its employment contracts with its accountants that waived class claims and required claims against E&Y, including overtime claims, to be arbitrated.  Judge Wood held that wage and hour claims can’t, as a practical matter, be litigated except on a class basis, because the amount of any individual’s claim is too small to interest a plaintiff’s attorney, and the expenditure on fees would not be justified.  Since the FLSA permits recovery of attorneys’ fees, that argument would not seem to carry much weight, but E&Y’s arbitration agreement made fee awards and their amount discretionary with the arbitrator, imposing more of a burden on the plaintiff.