California Employment Law Update

Category Archives: FAA

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California Legislature Targets Employment Arbitration Agreements

It is no secret that California is no friend to arbitration agreements. As the United States Supreme Court noted in its 2011 opinion in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, “California’s courts have been more likely to hold contracts to arbitrate unconscionable than other contracts,” despite directives from the High Court that arbitration agreements must be … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Tires (For Now) of Playing “Whack-a-Mole” With California Over Arbitration

On January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court denied the petition for certiorari filed in CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC v. Iskanian, a case in which the California Supreme Court held that waivers of employees’ right to bring representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”) are unenforceable under state law. You … Continue Reading

PAGA Claims and Arbitration – A Federal Court Parts Ways With Iskanian

The California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, (discussed here), held that class action waivers in arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) except as to claims that were made pursuant to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). PAGA allows aggrieved employees to represent other current and … Continue Reading

Court Holds Arbitration Agreement Requiring Employee to Pay Half of Arbitration Costs is Unconscionable

In Chavarria v. Ralphs Grocery Co., No. 11-56673, 2013 WL 5779332 (9th Cir. Oct. 28, 2013), the plaintiff, a former deli clerk, brought a class action against Ralphs for various alleged wage and hour violations of the California Labor Code.  As a condition of employment, Chavarria signed an arbitration agreement containing a class action waiver.  … Continue Reading

Right To Compel Arbitration Agreement Not Waived If Plaintiff Suffered No Prejudice From Delay

In a post last week, we noted a recent trend of federal courts strongly enforcing employment arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). That trend continues in Richards v. Ernst & Young, LLP, Case No. 11-17530 (9th Cir. Aug. 21, 2013), which holds that a defendant’s pretrial participation in litigation does not, absent prejudice … Continue Reading

Second Circuit Reaffirms Enforceability of Arbitration Agreements Containing Collective Action Waivers In Two FLSA Cases

Two recent decisions from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit have reaffirmed the enforceability of employment-related arbitration agreements containing class action waivers. In Sutherland v. Ernst & Young and Raniere v. Citigroup, Inc. the Second Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) requires courts to enforce a valid agreement to arbitrate … Continue Reading

California Court Criticizes Prior Case Law Invalidating Class Action Waivers, Then Punts To State Supreme Court

Truly Nolen of America v. Superior Court, 2012 WL 3222211 (Aug. 13, 2012) California law involving classwide wage-and-hour arbitration continues to evolve in the aftermath of the United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), which generally prohibits states from requiring additional due process guarantees (not … Continue Reading

California Court Approves Class Action Waivers In Employment Arbitration Agreements

The plaintiff in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, brought a putative class action and a representative action under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) for various wage and hour violations. During his employment, Iskanian agreed that he would not assert class action or representative action claims against his employer and, instead, agreed to submit … Continue Reading

State Limitations On Arbitration Agreements Are Preempted By Federal Law

AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011) In this landmark new opinion, the United States Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) prohibits states from conditioning the enforceability of an arbitration agreement on the availability of class action arbitration procedures. Although this case arose in the consumer context (it involved AT&T’s … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Tips the Scales Back Toward Arbitration

In a ruling that has garnered significant interest among employers, the U.S. Supreme Court held on Wednesday that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts the California Supreme Court’s efforts to impose heightened unconscionability standards on class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements. This decision may also sound the death knell for similar restrictions imposed by California … Continue Reading

Employee’s $400,000 Jury Verdict Against Urine- Testing Lab Is Upheld

Ishikawa v. Delta Airlines, Inc., 343 F.3d 1129 (9th Cir. 2003) Yasuko Ishikawa, a Delta Airlines flight attendant, was terminated for failing a drug-detection urine test. Because the test had been performed negligently and had no validity, Delta rehired Ishikawa and paid her her lost income. Ishikawa also sued LabOne, the urine-testing laboratory, for negligence, … Continue Reading
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