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Unpublished California Opinion Did Not Authorize Arbitration Over Threshold Issue of Independent Contractor or Employee in a PAGA Claim
Apr 19, 2022

Unpublished California Opinion Did Not Authorize Arbitration Over Threshold Issue of Independent Contractor or Employee in a PAGA Claim

Topics: Arbitration Agreements, Court Decisions

A former driver for UberEats alleged that Uber misclassified drivers as independent contractors as part of a PAGA action.  Uber sought an order to compel arbitration of the question of whether the plaintiff was an independent contractor or employee under their arbitration agreement.

On April 11, 2022, the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, upheld the trial court’s order to deny the motion and emphasized the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS.

The unpublished opinion acknowledged the proverbial elephant in the room, that the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises Inc. v. Angie Moriana will impact whether or not PAGA claims might become subject to arbitration agreements under the FAA, but insisting that “[u]nless and until the United States Supreme Court or the California Supreme Court directly overrules [Iskanian], the courts of this state must follow the rules of Iskanian.”  

The opinion is “not to be published” and practitioners should be cautioned against citing to this case as precedent.  Employers should continue to monitor SCOTUS for the Viking River Cruises Inc. decision.  The area of arbitration agreements in the employment sector continues to change rapidly, so contact your favorite CDF attorney if you have questions or to review and revise any arbitration agreements that you are using or might wish to use. 
 

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Sacramento Office Managing Partner and Chair of CDF’s Traditional Labor Law Practice Group. Mark has been practicing labor and employment law in California for thirty years. His practice has a special emphasis on the representation of California employers in union-management relations and handling federal and state court litigation and administrative matters triggered by all types of employment-related disputes. He is also adept at providing creative and practical legal advice to help minimize the risks inherent in employing workers in California. He recently named “Sacramento Lawyer of the Year” in Employment Law-Management for 2021 by Best Lawyers®.
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