California Employment Law Update

Tag Archives: arbitration

November 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Company That Hired Competitor’s Employee Was Not Entitled To Arbitrate Claims Disability Discrimination Claim Was Properly Dismissed On Summary Judgment Employee’s Attorney’s “Pervasive Incivility” Justified … Continue Reading

Company That Hired Competitor’s Employee Was Not Entitled To Arbitrate Claims

Mattson Tech., Inc. v. Applied Materials, Inc., 2023 WL 7180167 (Cal. Ct. App. 2023) Canfeng Lai worked for many years at Applied Materials before submitting his resignation to begin a new job at Mattson Technology (one of Applied’s competitors). First, however, Lai allegedly emailed himself a number of files containing Applied’s trade secrets. In response, … Continue Reading

Arbitrator Correctly Enforced Release Agreement Executed By Employee

Castelo v. Xceed Fin. Credit Union, 91 Cal. App. 5th 777 (2023) Elizabeth Castelo sued her former employer Xceed Financial Credit Union for wrongful termination and age discrimination in violation of FEHA.  After the parties stipulated to binding arbitration, the arbitrator granted summary judgment to Xceed based on a release that Castelo signed after she … Continue Reading

PAGA Plaintiffs May Maintain Representative Claims In Court After Individual Claims Are Compelled To Arbitration

Adolph v. Uber Techs., Inc., 14 Cal. 5th 1104 (2023) After months of anticipation, the California Supreme Court answered “yes” to the critical question of whether “aggrieved” PAGA plaintiffs retain their standing to pursue representative claims in court after their individual claims have been compelled to arbitration. Erik Adolph worked as a driver for Uber, … Continue Reading

September 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted September 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Employers Owe No Duty Of Care To Prevent The Spread Of COVID To Employees’ Household Members School District Employer Did Not Violate The Law By Requiring … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Broadly Construes Exemption to Federal Arbitration Act

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that signals some movement in the direction away from enforcing employment-related arbitration agreements. In Miller v. Amazon.com, Case No. 2:21-cv-00204-BJR, the Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s order denying Amazon’s motion to compel arbitration in a case brought by Amazon Flex delivery drivers who made last-leg deliveries of … Continue Reading

Is Arbitration Becoming “Just Somebody That We Used to Know”? — The Beginning of the End of Arbitration

When Congress passed and President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (“the Act”) last year, we predicted it was just the beginning of an all-out federal assault on arbitration. We weren’t wrong – so far, there are additional bills pending in Congress to exempt age and race discrimination … Continue Reading

Enforcement of PAGA Carve Out Suggests Need For New Revisions To Arbitration Agreements

Duran v. EmployBridge Holding Co., 92 Cal. App. 5th 59 (2023) In 2014, the California Supreme Court determined that Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) claims are immune from arbitration in Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC – which, unsurprisingly, led to an avalanche of PAGA claims being filed as plaintiffs’ lawyers scrambled to make their cases … Continue Reading

Under-the-Radar Concessions in Adolph Could Shorten PAGA’s Parade Of Horribles

On May 10, 2023, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc., a closely watched case that will decide whether a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) plaintiff loses standing to pursue a representative claim when their individual PAGA claim is compelled to arbitration. Observers hoping for a sign that the court was inclined … Continue Reading

What Appellate Courts Are Missing About PAGA Standing After Viking River Cruises

The California Supreme Court has scheduled oral argument for May 9, 2023 in Adolph v. Uber Technologies, Inc., a closely watched case that concerns whether a Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) plaintiff loses standing to pursue a representative claim when their individual PAGA claim is compelled to arbitration.  This question was left open by the blockbuster … Continue Reading

California Concludes It’s Been Too Hard On Employers, Offers Apology (Nah, Just Kidding!)—A New Raft Of “Job-Killer” Bills Is Heading This Way!

Spring in California can only mean one thing, and no, it’s not Coachella, Dodgers games or even the return of the swallows to San Juan Capistrano—it’s the annual release of the California Chamber of Commerce’s list of “Job Killer Bills.” Once again, this list proves that former California Governor Jerry Brown had it right when … Continue Reading

$137 Million Racial Harassment Verdict Against Tesla Slashed by New Jury!

An astronomical $137 million jury verdict against Tesla has again been reduced, for a second (and potentially final) time. Last Monday, following a five-day trial on damages, a federal court jury awarded Owen Diaz, a former Tesla elevator operator, $175,000 in emotional distress damages and $3 million in punitive damages, totaling nearly $3.2 million—almost $134 … Continue Reading

March 2023 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted March 2023 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: No Claim By Employee Who Was Friends With Alleged Harasser Pregnancy Discrimination Lawsuit Was Properly Dismissed Employer That Failed To Layoff Employee Before She Became … Continue Reading

No Arbitration Waiver Where Employer Answered Complaint And Engaged In Limited Discovery

Armstrong v. Michaels Stores, Inc., 59 F.4th 1011 (9th Cir. 2023) Teresa Armstrong executed an arbitration agreement with her employer Michaels Stores. After filing her claims in state court, Michaels answered, asserting its right to arbitration as an affirmative defense and removing the action to federal district court. The parties then submitted a joint case … Continue Reading

Employees Lose on PAGA Claims in Court Following Loss in Arbitration

Earlier this month, the California Court of Appeal (2d Dist.) ruled that issue preclusion bars a derivative Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) claim where the plaintiff litigates individual Labor Code claims in arbitration and loses.  Rocha v. U-Haul Co. of Cal., 2023 WL 1462594 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 2, 2023) (certified for publication).  Rocha, while at … Continue Reading

Court Obliterates California’s Anti-Arbitration Law

Yesterday, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel revisited its own 2021 order and finally struck down California’s anti-mandatory employment arbitration law, Assembly Bill 51 (“AB 51”).  In an opinion drafted by the former dissenting judge, Judge Sandra Ikuta, the new majority declared AB 51 was preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). The statute in question, … Continue Reading

November 2022 California Employment Law Notes

We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2022 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include: Equal Pay Act Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed Whistleblower Claim Should Not Have Been Dismissed In Part School District Employee May Have Been Discriminated … Continue Reading

Employer Waived Right To Arbitration By Failing To Timely Pay Arbitration Fees

Espinoza v. Superior Court, 83 Cal. App. 5th 761 (2022) Rosa M. Quincoza Espinoza sued her former employer, Centinela Skilled Nursing & Wellness Centre West, LLC, for discrimination and retaliation.  The employer filed a motion to stay the litigation and compel arbitration, invoking the terms of an arbitration agreement that Espinoza had signed.  After the … Continue Reading

Congress Passes Bill Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration and Class Action Waivers for Sexual Harassment and Sexual Assault Claims

On February 10, 2022, the Senate passed H. 4445, the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment Act (the “Act”), by a voice vote.  The bill had previously passed the House of Representatives by a vote of 335-97. The White House has indicated President Biden will sign the bill. If enacted, the Act would amend the … Continue Reading

Los Angeles Jury Hands $155 Million Holiday Gift to Fired Insurance Executive

As we recently reported, California juries continue to award massive verdicts to employees with alarming regularity.  And, just in time for the holidays, a Los Angeles Superior Court jury upped the ante on Thursday, handing a fired insurance company executive a verdict totaling $155.4 million – including $150 million in punitive damages. Plaintiff Andrew Rudnicki worked … Continue Reading

Consider the True Implications of Waiving Arbitration

Employers: have you thought about the true implications of waiving arbitration? When considering how to end sexual harassment issues in the workplace, prioritizing training and policy review may be a better course. Read more in Anthony Oncidi’s latest column in the Los Angeles Daily Journal: https://lnkd.in/dcMBBFm… Continue Reading

Multiple PAGA Representative Claims Crumble As Federal Courts Continue To Reject Iskanian and Enforce Arbitration Agreements Containing PAGA Waivers

When the California Supreme Court decided Iskanian v. CLS Transp. Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal. 4th 348 (2014), this June, some legal commentators assumed that employees could not waive pre-litigation claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). Those assumptions may have been premature. As we noted here, at least one federal court refused to … 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
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