California Labor &
Employment Law Blog

Sep. 28 2010

Future Enforceability of Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements

Topics: Arbitration Agreements

There is an insightful article in this week’s National Law Journal regarding recent and upcoming United States Supreme Court decisions on the enforceability of class action waivers in pre-dispute arbitration agreements. To view the article, click here.

As we recently reported on our blog, the United States Supreme Court will be reviewing the Ninth Circuit’s decision in AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion this term. In that case, the Ninth Circuit held that a class action waiver in a consumer arbitration agreement was unconscionable and unenforceable under California law. The Supreme Court is expected to decide whether the Federal Arbitration Act preempts California law in this area, thereby rendering class action waivers of this nature valid and enforceable. Although the Concepcion case is a consumer case, not an employment case, the ruling certainly has the potential to impact the enforceability of class action waivers in the employment arbitration context. Thus far, California courts have generally held that class action waivers in the employment arbitration arena are often unconscionable and unenforceable, except in limited circumstances. A ruling that the FAApreempts California unconscionability jurisprudence would be very significant for California employers.

Stay tuned for the Supreme Court decision in the AT&T v. Concepcion case, expected in the Spring of 2011.

About CDF

For over 20 years, CDF has distinguished itself as one of the top employment, labor and immigration firms in California, representing employers in single-plaintiff and class action lawsuits and advising employers on related legal compliance and risk avoidance. We cover the state, with five locations from Sacramento to San Diego.

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About the Editor

Robin Largent has a regular presence in California state and federal courts and has been lead defense counsel and appellate counsel for large and small California employers in litigation (and arbitration) ranging from individual discrimination and harassment claims to complex wage and hour representative and class actions. She also leads the firm’s appellate practice, having substantial experience and success handling appeals, writ petitions, and amicus briefs in both state and federal court on issues such as class certification (particularly in the wage and hour arena), manageability and due process concerns associated with class action trials, exempt/non-exempt misclassification issues, meal and rest break compliance, trade secret/unfair competition matters, and the scope of federal court jurisdiction under the Class Action Fairness Act.
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