Archives: Arbitration Agreements

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Class Action Waiver in Employment Arbitration Agreement is Unenforceable, Court Rules

A class action waiver in an arbitration agreement is unenforceable under the National Labor Relations Act, Judge Gonzalo P. Curiel has ruled. Neal Pataky et al. v. The Brigantine, Inc., No. 3:17-cv-00352 (S.D. Cal. May 3, 2017). Judge Curiel’s decision tracks the Ninth Circuit’s Morris v. Ernst & Young, 834 F.3d 975 (9th Cir. 2016), … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Finds Uber’s Arbitration Agreements Enforceable After All

On September 7, 2016, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Mohamed v. Uber Technologies, Inc. largely overturned the District Court’s ruling which had held Uber’s arbitration agreements to be unenforceable.  Last year, the District Court had held that the arbitration agreements were unconscionable due to the inclusion of a waiver of claims brought under … Continue Reading

Arbitration Agreements

Denying an employer’s motion to compel individual arbitration of a wage and hour class action, a California federal court ruled that the employer’s dispute resolution program violated its employees’ right to engage in concerted action under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”). Totten v. Kellogg Brown & Root, LLC. Notably, this ruling departs from the … Continue Reading

Inaccurate Translation Invalidates Arbitration Agreement

The California Court of Appeal ruled that an automobile dealership that translated a sales contract into Spanish, but neglected to include the arbitration clause in the translated agreement, could not enforce the arbitration agreement. Ramos v. Westlake Services, LLC, A141353. Although the case involved a commercial transaction, it has important implications for employers who use … Continue Reading

Employer Cannot Enforce Class Action Waiver Because Court of Appeal Rules Interstate Truck Drivers Not Subject to FAA

On October 26, 2015, a California Court of Appeal held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply to interstate truck drivers, and as a result, it ruled that an employer’s class action waiver was unenforceable as a matter of public policy under the California Gentry rule. Garrido v. Air Liquide Industrial U.S. LP, … Continue Reading

California Ban on Waiver of Representative PAGA Claims Not Barred by Federal Arbitration Act, Federal Court Holds

Declining to enforce a representative action waiver contained in an arbitration agreement, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in San Francisco, has held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not preempt California’s “Iskanian rule,” which prohibits waiver of representative claims under the state Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), Cal. Lab. Code § … Continue Reading

The California Senate Passes a Bill That May Abolish Arbitration Agreements

On August 24, 2015, the California Senate passed measure AB-465 which prevents employers from requiring employees to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment. The Senate approved this measure by a vote of 22-15. In support of this measure, Democratic Assemblyman Roger Hernandez stated, “No worker should be forced to choose between a job and … Continue Reading

California Court Holds Arbitrator Decides Class Arbitrability Where Agreement Specifies AAA Rules

An employment arbitration agreement that incorporated the American Arbitration Association’s National Rules for the Resolution of Employment Disputes vested the arbitrator with the power to decide whether the agreement authorized class-wide relief, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Universal Protection Service LP v. Superior Court, No. C078557 (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 18, 2015). The … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court: Federal Arbitration Act Preempts Plaintiff’s State Rights

An arbitration clause in a consumer agreement was enforceable, including the class action waiver, despite four supposedly one-sided arbitration provisions in the agreement, the California Supreme Court has held. Sanchez v. Valencia Holding Co., LLC, No. S199119 (Aug. 3, 2015). The much-anticipated decision has significant implications for arbitration agreements between employers and employees.… Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Finds Plaintiff Knowingly Agreed to Arbitration of Title VII Claims

A recent decision by the Ninth Circuit reversed a district court’s denial of an employer’s motion to compel arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). This decision is notable because the applicable dispute resolution policy, outlining the terms of arbitration, was contained within the company’s policy manual and detached from the employee’s signed acknowledgment of … Continue Reading

California Appeals Court Affirms that Employee Signature Acknowledging Clear Arbitration Policy Makes Policy Binding

In a recent opinion affirming an arbitrator’s judgment in favor of an employer on various employment law claims, the California Court of Appeal held that an employee agreed to arbitrate all claims against her former employee when she signed an arbitration policy contained in an easy-to-read document distinct from any other document the she signed … Continue Reading

No Arbitration if Invalid PAGA Waiver Cannot be Severed

On February 27, 2015, the California Court of Appeal determined that arbitration could not be compelled in Securitas Security Services USA, Inc. v. Superior Court (Edwards). Securitas’ arbitration agreement contained a waiver provision, waiving both class actions and representative Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) actions. In addition to waiving these claims, the waiver provision expressly … Continue Reading

California Court of Appeal Rules PAGA Claims Must Be Stayed Pending Outcome of Individual Arbitration on Underlying Individual Wage and Hour Claims

On February 26, 2015, in Franco v. Arakelian Enterprises, Inc., Case No. B232583, the California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate District held that trial court proceedings on claims pursuant to the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) (Labor Code § 2698 et seq.) must be stayed pending individual arbitration of the underlying individual wage and … Continue Reading

Enforceability of PAGA Waivers in Arbitration Agreements – The Battle Continues

The battle over whether employees may waive the right to pursue claims under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) in arbitration continues. The Supreme Court of the United States recently requested a response from ex-Bridgestone Retail Operations LLC employees to Bridgestone’s January 5, 2015 petition for a writ of certiorari challenging the California Supreme Court’s … Continue Reading

Employer Could Not Establish Sufficient Evidence to Prove Employee Signed an Arbitration Agreement through an Electronic Signature

A new case from the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, Division Two, Ruiz v. Moss Bros. Auto Group, Inc., was certified for publication on December 23, 2014, and addresses an area of interest for many employers – electronic signatures on arbitration agreements. Employers must build safeguards into such systems  to be able to prove … Continue Reading

Arbitrator, Not Court, Decides Whether Arbitration Agreement Applies to Class Claims, California Court Rules

Whether the parties to an arbitration agreement agreed to class arbitration is a question for the arbitrator, not the trial court, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, reversing an order dismissing class claims alleging violations of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and Unfair Competition Act. Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, Inc., No. B244412 (Cal. … Continue Reading

Arbitrator, Not Court, Decides Arbitration Agreement’s Enforceability, California Court Holds

A clause delegating to an arbitrator the authority to decide questions of an arbitration agreement’s enforceability was not unconscionable under California law, the California Court of Appeal has ruled. Malone v. Superior Court, No. B253891 (Cal. Ct. App. June 17, 2014). The Court affirmed an order enforcing the delegation clause and compelling arbitration. Significantly, the … Continue Reading

California Tide is Turning in Favor of Arbitration

In a decision that should not go unnoticed in the wake of the California Supreme Court’s ruling in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC which rejected prior limitations on class action waivers but held representative actions under California’s Private Attorneys General Act cannot be waived, the California Court of Appeal in Malone v. Superior … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Okays Class Action Waivers and Overrules Gentry v. Superior Court, but Bans Waivers of Representative Actions Under the PAGA

Overruling Gentry v. Superior Court, 42 Cal. 4th 443 (2007) as preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), the California Supreme Court upheld the validity of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements. Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, No. S204032  (Cal. Jun. 23, 2014).  Declining to follow D.R. Horton, 357 NLRB No. 184 … Continue Reading

Employer Did Not Waive Right to Arbitration Despite One-Year Delay, California Court Rules

An employer that petitioned to compel arbitration one year after the employee filed his employment-related complaint did not waive its right to arbitrate the complaint, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, confirming the burden of proving a party waived its right to arbitration is a heavy one. Gloster v. Sonic Automotive, Inc., No. A137081 … Continue Reading

Arbitrator, Not Court, Decides Arbitration Agreement’s Enforceability, California Court Rules

A trial court lacked authority to rule on the enforceability of an arbitration agreement when the parties had contracted to delegate questions about the agreement’s enforceability to the arbitrator, the California Court of Appeal has ruled, reversing the denial of arbitration in a wrongful discharge action. Tiri v. Lucky Chances, Inc., No. A136675 (Cal. Ct. … Continue Reading

Spanish-Speaking Employees and English Arbitration Agreements

On April 21, 2014, a California Appellate Court held that an arbitration agreement is unconscionable and an employer cannot compel arbitration when the employer failed to translate the entirety of an English-language employment agreement containing an arbitration agreement, confidentiality clause, and enforceability provision for its Spanish-speaking employees. In Esteban H. Carmona et al. v. Lincoln … Continue Reading

California Courts Continue to Embrace Binding Arbitration Agreements

With increasing frequency, California courts (especially federal district courts) are enforcing binding arbitration agreements between employers and employees.  In Richards v. Ernst & Young, No. 11-17530 (9th Cir. Aug. 21, 2013), the Ninth Circuit recently reversed a denial of the employer’s motion to compel arbitration of the employee’s wage and hour claims.  In so doing, … Continue Reading
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