Federal Arbitration Act

The U.S. Supreme Court’s recent ruling that class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) does not extend to claims under the California Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, No. 16-285; Ernst & Young LLP et al. v. Morris et al., No. 16-300; National

In a loss for the California transportation industry, the Court of Appeal for California’s Fourth Judicial District recently found in Muro v. Cornerstone Staffing Solutions, Inc., that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) is unenforceable in employment contracts regarding employees who are engaged in transporting goods in interstate or foreign commerce, regardless of whether the

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 § 2698 et seq. Sakkab v. Luxottica Retail North America, Inc., No. 13-55184 (9th Cir. Sept. 28, 2015).

The PAGA “authorizes an employee to bring an action for civil penalties on behalf of the state against his or her employer for Labor Code violations committed against the employee and fellow employees, with most of the proceeds of that litigation going to the state.” Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal.4th 348, 360 (2014). Thus, a PAGA claim is a type of government enforcement action where the representative employee acts as the state’s proxy.


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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 receipt of the manual. The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court’s decision on the grounds the language of the employer’s dispute resolution policy, separately outlined within the company’s policy manual, expressly indicated a waiver of the right to a judicial forum for civil rights claims such that the employee “knowingly” agreed to arbitrate his Title VII claim. Michael Ashbey v. Archstone Property Management, Inc., No. 12-55912 (9th Cir., May 12, 2015).
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