Seyfarth Synopsis. As of January 1, 2020, AB 51 makes it unlawful for employers to impose arbitration agreements on employees as a condition of employment, even if employees are permitted to opt out. But will AB 51 withstand a legal challenge saying that AB 51 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act? While courts ponder that question, California employers must
Continue Reading AB 51 Challenge: How Should California Employers Ring In The New Year?

Seyfarth Synopsis: Governor Newsom has approved some of the bills most feared by employers, including bills to ban employment arbitration, extend FEHA administrative deadlines, codify the Dynamex ABC test, and create San Francisco-style lactation-accommodation requirements. Governor Newsom also vetoed a few bills that we might expect to be re-introduced in the same or similar form during 2020.

Governor Newsom acted
Continue Reading Legislative Update: Governor Newsom Pens Halloween Terrors for California Employers

Seyfarth Synopsis. On Thursday, September 5, 2019, the Legislature passed AB 51. This bill would ban mandatory arbitration agreements with respect to claims under the Labor Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act while simultaneously disclaiming any intent to invalidate any agreement protected by the Federal Arbitration Act. Is this bill California’s latest clever—but predictably unsuccessful—effort to discriminate against
Continue Reading Zombie Apocalypse? Another (Unconstitutional?) California Assault on Arbitration

Seyfarth Synopsis: The California Legislature has passed a series of bills for Governor Newsom to consider. He now has until October 13 to approve or veto bills such as a Dynamex codification bill and a San Francisco-inspired lactation accommodation bill.

Friday, September 13th marked the Legislature’s last day to pass bills to Governor Newsom’s desk for approval in the first
Continue Reading California Employment Legislative Update: Governor Newsom Gets to Work

Seyfarth Synopsis: Everything was smooth sailing with your latest greatest arbitration agreement, but then an employee refused to get on board. What do you do now? Keep reading for a primer on navigating some murky waters.

Even in a post-Epic Systems world, where more and more employers are rolling out mandatory arbitration agreements with class-action waivers, California has
Continue Reading Employees Who Won’t Get On Board With Arbitration—Can Employers Rock The Boat?

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employment-related cases pending before the California Supreme Court concern various questions that sometimes seem technical, but the answers they elicit will have big consequences. Questions raised by the current crop of cases include standing to sue, the availability of certain claims and remedies, federal preemption of California laws, what counts as compensable time, and—that perennial favorite—how to interpret
Continue Reading 2019 Employment Law: Cases Pending in the California Supreme Court

Seyfarth Synopsis: In vetoing the California Legislature’s attempt to criminalize arbitration agreements (AB 3080), Governor Brown displayed common sense and the legal learning provided by recent U.S. Supreme Court authority.

Haven’t high courts already upheld mandatory arbitration agreements?

Yes, they have. The California and U.S. Supreme Courts have repeatedly ruled that employers may require employees to enter valid arbitration agreements
Continue Reading Governor Brown Vetoes Legislative Attempt to Criminalize Mandatory Arbitration

Seyfarth Synopsis. Pending California legislation would make a mandatory arbitration agreement an unlawful practice under the Fair Employment and Housing Act, and a crime. How could that be consistent with the Federal Arbitration Act?

Under current law, California businesses can insist that employees and contractors enter valid agreements to resolve disputes in front of a neutral arbitrator instead of a
Continue Reading Is California’s Latest Assault on Arbitration Constitutional?

Seyfarth Synopsis: California courts are often hostile towards defendants that seek to require litigious employees to honor their arbitration agreements. The defendant’s plight might seem more stark still if the defendant has not itself signed the agreement. But defendant employers still have means of enforcing such agreements, which can be especially significant in class actions claiming joint employment. 

Despite the
Continue Reading No Signature? No Problem! Enforcing Arbitration Even Without Everyone Signing

Seyfarth Synopsis: Employers in California: be aware and prepare for new laws increasing minimum wages and mandating overtime pay for agricultural employees; expanding the California Fair Pay Act to race and ethnicity and to address prior salary consideration; imposing new restrictions on background checks and gig economy workers; and more. Small employers will be relieved the Governor vetoed expanded unpaid
Continue Reading 2016 California Labor and Employment Legislation Update: It’s Final!