Here’s a question you likely have never considered: Are hackers overseas infiltrating employers’ computer systems just to sign arbitration agreements with class action waivers for random employees?
While there is no evidence that this has ever happened anywhere, and no logical reason why it would, plaintiffs’ lawyers and even some courts seem to believe this could happen. And that is at the heart of the latest battleground over arbitration agreements with class actions waivers.
Since the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Epic Systems v. Lewis, more and more ...
On July 21, 2023, a unanimous three-judge panel once again affirmed a California federal court’s ruling that the truck drivers who deliver ingredients from Domino’s Southern California Supply Chain Center to Domino’s California franchisees are exempt from the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”).
The Ninth Circuit has issued its long-awaited ruling in Chamber of Commerce v. Bonta, perhaps putting a nail in the coffin of the controversial California law known as AB 51, which would have made it criminal conduct to require an applicant or employee to sign an arbitration agreement.
The history of AB 51 and the case challenging it is a tortuous one, to say the least, but the issue has always remained the same: was the California legislature too clever in its attempt to circumvent the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Epic Systems?
Litigators who defend cases brought under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), particularly ‘collective actions” alleging wage-and-hour violations, often have been able to counter, or even sometimes support, allegations that arbitration agreements have been waived where the conduct of a party has caused prejudice to the other side. In the case of Morgan v. Sundance, Inc., a unanimous Supreme Court has now held that the determinant of waiver is solely dependent upon the nature and magnitude of the actions of the party that might be inconsistent with arbitration, without respect to alleged prejudice.
On June 1, 2021 the Southern District of Florida granted the motion by Uber Technologies, Inc. (“Uber”) to compel arbitration, finding that the company’s drivers did not engage in sufficient interstate commerce to meet the interstate commerce exclusion in the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA).
Plaintiffs Kathleen Short and Harold White brought a class action against Uber alleging that the company’s policy of classifying its drivers as independent contractors violates the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Florida Minimum Wage Act because the company failed to pay drivers the minimum wage. Uber sought to enforce its arbitration agreement which unambiguously required plaintiffs to pursue any potential claims in an individual arbitration.
Since the Supreme Court issued its seminal 2018 decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, acknowledging that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) permits the use of arbitration agreements with class action waivers, many employers have implemented arbitration programs for their employees. Those arbitration programs have been aimed, in no small part, at avoiding the class and collective actions that have overwhelmed employers, particularly in California.
In response, California passed AB 51, which prohibits imposing “as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit” the requirement that an individual “waive any right, forum or procedure” available under the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) and Labor Code.
Given the ever-increasing number of wage-hour class and collective actions being filed against employers, it is no surprise that many employers have turned to arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers as a first line of defense, particularly after the United States Supreme Court’s landmark 2018 Epic Systems v. Lewis decision.
If there is a common misconception about Epic Systems, however, it is that the Supreme Court concluded that all arbitration agreements with all employees are enforceable under all circumstances. The Court reached no such ...
As we wrote here, United States District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller of the Eastern District of California wrote a brief “minute order” explaining that she was issuing a preliminary injunction to halt enforcement of California’s controversial anti-arbitration law, known as AB 51.
The new law, which was set to go into effect on January 1, 2020, would outlaw mandatory arbitration agreements with employees. AB 51 would also prohibit arbitration agreements that would require individuals to take affirmative action to be excluded from arbitration, such as opting out. ...
The California Legislature’s attempt to circumvent both the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and the Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Epic Systems by crafting a new law prohibiting California employers from requiring employees to enter into arbitration agreements is off to a rocky start in the courts, to say the least.
As discussed below, a federal court has issued a preliminary injunction enjoining enforcement of California’s controversial new anti-arbitration statute known as AB 51. Barring some new development, it now appears clear that the statute cannot be ...
As we recently wrote here, on December 29, 2019, just days before California’s new arbitration statute known as AB 51 was to go into effect, a federal judge in the United States District Court of the Eastern District of California granted a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to enjoin enforcement of AB 51.
The new law, which was set to go into effect on January 1, 2020, would outlaw mandatory arbitration agreements with employees.
AB 51 would also prohibit arbitration agreements that would require individuals to take affirmative action to be excluded from arbitration, such ...
On November 26, 2019, San Francisco Superior Court Judge Richard B. Ulmer ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) might not apply to Uber drivers who are engaged in interstate commerce while driving passengers to or from international airports.
In his claims before the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement (“DLSE”), driver Sangam Patel (“Patel”) seeks recovery of unpaid wages, overtime pay, vacation pay, meal and rest break premiums, and unpaid business expenses allegedly owed by Uber. Uber petitioned to compel arbitration of Patel’s (“Patel” ...
As employers with operations in California had feared, Governor Gavin Newsom has signed AB 51, which effectively outlaws mandatory arbitration agreements with employees – a new version of a bill that prior Governor Jerry Brown had vetoed repeatedly while he was in office.
The bill not only prohibits mandatory arbitration agreements, but it also outlaws arbitration agreements in which employees must take an affirmative action to escape arbitration, such as opting out.
And as the statute is written in broad terms that extend to waivers of statutory “procedures,” it appears to ...
Earlier this year, in New Prime, Inc. v. Oliveira, 586 U.S. __, 139 S. Ct 532 (2019), the United States Supreme Court held that the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) does not apply to arbitration agreements with independent contractors who are engaged in interstate commerce. The Supreme Court did not address whether such agreements could be enforced through other laws.
Now, two different panels of the New Jersey Appellate Division have rendered decisions addressing this unresolved issue. Those panels, however, reached different conclusions regarding whether the arbitration ...
Our colleague Stuart M. Gerson at Epstein Becker Green recently posted an article on LinkedIn that will be of interest to our readers: “SCOTUS Today: Class Action Ambiguity Finds No Shelter Under the Federal Arbitration Act.”
Following is an excerpt:
In a 5-4 opinion (divided on expected conservative/liberal lines), authored by the Chief Justice, the Supreme Court has ruled in the case of Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varella, No. 17-988, that under the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”), an ambiguous agreement cannot provide the necessary contractual basis for concluding that ...
Three months ago, the United States Supreme Court issued its decision in Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, holding that the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) does not prevent the use of arbitration agreements with class and collective action waivers covered by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”). (See our discussion of Epic here.) The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has now similarly concluded in Gaffers v. Kelly Services, Inc., that the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) does not bar such arbitration arrangements. While this is not a surprising outcome in light ...
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