The United States Supreme Court has agreed to take a closer look at the enforceability of arbitration agreements that bar representative claims brought under PAGA, a California law that allows individual employees to police labor code violations.
Continue Reading SCOTUS Could Deliver Good News to California Employers Looking to Enforce Class Action Waivers Against PAGA Claims

On November 15, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear Robyn Morgan v. Sundance, Inc. (No. 21-326), a lawsuit from a fast-food worker who asserts that her employer waived its right to compel arbitration by engaging in litigation conduct inconsistent with its purported contractual right to arbitration.  By granting review, the Court is poised to resolve a circuit split as to whether a party must prove prejudice when arguing that the other party waived its right to arbitration by acting in a manner inconsistent with the arbitration agreement.  
Continue Reading U.S. Supreme Court Will Address Circuit Split on Arbitration Waiver

On September 8, 2021, the House Education and Labor Committee issued proposed legislation in connection with the House’s new spending bill. Among other pro-union proposals issued in connection with the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act, the proposed legislation seeks to amend the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by banning class and collective action waivers.
Continue Reading Proposed Federal Legislation Quietly Threatens Viability of Class and Collective Action Waivers Through New House Spending Bill

Employers operating in California often ask employees to agree to arbitrate employment-related disputes as a term and condition of employment.  In its recent Chamber of Commerce v. Bonta decision, the Ninth Circuit took a significant step toward prohibiting such mandatory employment arbitration agreements.  However, the combination of a 2-1 panel decision (authored by a visiting judge from the Tenth Circuit), a scathing dissenting opinion, and a holding that splits with decisions from the First and Fourth Circuits all but ensures more litigation.  As a result, the case is far from over, so while employers eventually may have to consider changing their arbitration agreement practices, they very likely have some time to let the dust settle before doing so. 
Continue Reading The Ninth Circuit, Mandatory Arbitration Agreements, and “Clown Bop Bags”

Over the past six months, the California Supreme Court as well as the State’s appellate courts have published a number of important decisions in the area of California labor and employment law. The California Supreme Court’s decisions published earlier this year in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC (2021) 11 Cal.5th 58 and Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising International, Inc. (2021) 10 Cal.5th 944 were previously covered in Hunton Labor & Employment perspectives.
Continue Reading Mid-Year California Case Law Update

Since the Supreme Court’s 2018 Epic Systems ruling, employers increasingly rely on arbitration agreements for more efficient resolution of both single plaintiff and class action claims.  Prolonged judicial review of arbitration awards, however, can dilute that efficiency.  As a result, some employers include waivers of judicial review, in whole or in part, in their arbitration agreements.

But are such waivers permissible?  In a recent decision, the Fourth Circuit said “yes” as it relates to appellate review. 
Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Holds that the Federal Arbitration Act Does Not Prohibit Parties from Waiving Appellate Review

A recent Fifth Circuit opinion held that a company’s arbitration agreement did not prevent employees from pursuing their claims as a collective arbitration, rather than individual claims.  As class claims related to COVID-19 begin to surge, the opinion provides occasion for companies to review their arbitration agreements to ensure that the companies’ aims are clearly drafted.
Continue Reading As COVID-based Class Actions Loom, Fifth Circuit Provides Reminder for Arbitration Agreements and Class Action Waivers

California’s law against arbitration remains in doubt after Eastern District Judge Kimberly Mueller extended the TRO issued on December 31, prohibiting the state of California from enforcing the law against agreements covered by the Federal Arbitration Act.  That law, known as AB 51, seeks to prohibit companies in California from requiring arbitration agreements as a condition of employment.
Continue Reading California Court Extends TRO Against Arbitration Law

The body of law surrounding class action employment arbitrations received another jolt Monday when the Second Circuit revived an arbitration action with a potential class of roughly 70,000 employees. In Jock v. Sterling Jewelers, the Second Circuit overturned the district court and upheld an arbitrator’s decision to bind absent class members to the arbitration provisions of the company’s agreement.  The case represents another significant development in the realm of class arbitrations and class waivers, which have been the subject of significant recent litigation.
Continue Reading Second Circuit Revival of 70,000-Employee Class Action Adds Ripple to Uncertain Waters of Class Arbitrations