The legal path between employee arbitration agreements under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and representative claims under the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) has been anything but smooth. A new (albeit unpublished and uncitable) case, Piran v. Yamaha Motor Corp., et al., No. G062198, 2024 WL 484845 (Cal. Ct. App. Feb. 8, 2024)(unpub.) (“Yamaha”), helps to illustrate the challenges and unanswered questions lingering in the wake of this rapidly-developing area of law.
Continue Reading In High Stakes Battle Between Arbitration and PAGA, Wins, Losses, and Questions

On September 29, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Bissonnette v. LePage Bakeries Park St. LLC, a case from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals involving application of the Federal Arbitration Act’s (“FAA”) exemption for transportation workers.
Continue Reading The Supreme Court To Further Clarify “Transportation Worker” Exemption to the FAA

Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued a decision holding that California employers can require employees to enter into mandatory arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment. In the decision, Chamber of Commerce v. Bonta, No. 20-15291 (9th Cir., Feb. 15 2023), a three-judge panel reversed the Ninth Circuit’s own prior decision and found that Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51), which sought to impose criminal and civil penalties on employers who require employees to enter into such agreements, is preempted by federal law.
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds California’s Ban on Mandatory Arbitration Agreements is Preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act

Just days ago, the highest court in Massachusetts—the Supreme Judicial Court (“SJC”)— decided whether former food delivery drivers for GrubHub could escape their arbitration agreements and bring a wage and hour class action lawsuit in court. In excellent news for employers operating in the intrastate delivery sector, the SJC held that they could not. Archer v. GrubHub, Inc., SJC-13228. 2022 WL 2964639 (July 27, 2022) (“GrubHub II”).
Continue Reading Massachusetts High Court Decides Intrastate Delivery Drivers Unable to Ditch Their Arbitration Agreements

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court in Southwest Airlines Co. v. Saxon unanimously held that a ramp supervisor who frequently handled cargo for an interstate airline company was exempt from coverage under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) because she belonged to a “class of workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” 9 U.S.C. § 1.
Continue Reading Airline Cargo Loaders Are Exempt Under the Federal Arbitration Act, Supreme Court Holds

On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (Case No. 20-1573) reversing the California Court of Appeal’s decision to affirm the denial of Viking’s motion to compel arbitration Moriana’s “individual” PAGA claim and to dismiss her other PAGA claims.
Continue Reading BREAKING:  Supreme Court Reverses California Court of Appeal in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana

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”