Brenden Begley_retouchMany employers have arbitration agreements wherein employees agree to waive the right to file a lawsuit against the employer under various laws, including the California’s Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”).  Employers were disappointed when the California Supreme Court ruled last June that such waivers of PAGA lawsuits are invalid, at least in state court.  See Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, 59 Cal.4th 348 (2014).

However, a number of federal trial judges in the Golden State subsequently disagreed and ruled that PAGA waivers are enforceable in their courts.  See, e.g., Ortiz v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc., E.D. Cal. Case No. 2:13-cv-01619 (Sept. 30, 2014).  Because a PAGA waiver still may be enforceable against an employee in federal court, many employers have either kept or inserted such waivers in their arbitration agreements.

This week it became apparent that including a PAGA waiver may destroy an employer’s ability to require arbitration in any type of lawsuit, be it under PAGA or some other theory (e.g., alleged discrimination, harassment, retaliation, or wage-and-hour or meal-and-rest-period violations).  Specifically, the California Court of Appeal ruled that a PAGA waiver will invalidate an entire arbitration agreement in state court if that agreement also includes a non-severability clause.  See Montano v. The Wet Seal Retail, Inc., Cal. Ct. App. Case No. B244107 (Jan. 7, 2015).
Continue Reading The New PAGA-Waiver Trap Door

A California Court of Appeal decision issued on May 15, 2014 (Tiri v. Lucky Chances, Inc., Case No. A136675) decided that the parties to an arbitration agreement may, by agreement, deprive a civil court of jurisdiction to determine whether an arbitration agreement is enforceable.

Several years after she was hired, Lourdes Tiri signed an

By: Brendan J. Begley

The California Court of Appeal this week provided a shield to employers against attacks left open by the state Supreme Court’s momentous decision earlier this month concerning meal and rest periods. The appellate court in Kinecta Alternative Financial Solutions Inc. v. Superior Court (Malone), No. B235491, decided that a trial court in Los Angeles should have dismissed class-action allegations in a meal-and-rest-period lawsuit.Continue Reading Closing The Gap Left By Brinker RE Meal-And-Rest-Period Class Actions

By: Brendan J. Begley

An employer’s ability to have disputes with employees resolved by arbitrators instead of courts had some ups and downs in recent days. One of those developments suggests that employers should review and perhaps revise their arbitration agreements to keep them enforceable in state court. The other development indicates that arbitration agreements will continue to be treated favorably by federal courts.Continue Reading Recent Developments Warrant Review of Arbitration Agreements

If you thought all the news from the NLRB these days had to do with Posters and Recess appointments, think again. On January 6, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board emphatically rejected an arbitration agreement that required employees to waive their class action rights. This opinion squarely rejected the U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion, wherein SCOTUS approved of class action waivers in compulsory arbitration agreements.
Continue Reading Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements: One Step Forward, Two Steps Back! Class Action Waivers a Violation of the National Labor Relations Act