Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Labor & Employment General Business

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Ninth Circuit Again Clarifies that Arbitration Is Creature of Contract: Employee's Agreement to Abide by Company Manual Is...

The court’s opinion instructs that employee agreements to arbitrate may be obtained through written acknowledgments referencing company manuals. Arbitration remains a preferred forum for many employers, yet courts are...more

Knowingly or Not? When Does an Employee Agree to Arbitrate?

There was a time, not so long ago, when federal courts refused to enforce arbitration agreements in Title VII cases, rendering arbitration agreements in the employment context virtually meaningless. Then, in 1991, Congress...more

Spring Vacations: Which arguments are winning on appeals from arbitration so far in 2015?

Today I present a collection of recent state and federal appellate court decisions that vacate or un-vacate arbitration awards. The seven opinions below emphasize how difficult it is to prove that an arbitrator exceeded his...more

Ninth Circuit Reinforces that Arbitration Agreements Will be Enforced

Ashbey was employed from December 1996 until November 2010, when he was discharged. He started with Archstone as a service technician and was promoted to regional service manager. In 2009, Ashbey signed a document titled,...more

Surprise! You Get to Arbitrate! Massachusetts Courts Continue to Permit Third Parties to Enforce Arbitration Agreements

Two Massachusetts decisions—including one from the state’s highest court—applied the same standard regarding enforcement of an agreement to arbitrate. In each case, plaintiffs signed arbitration agreements with another...more

Federal Case Update| Mail and Carrier

Court Dashes Postmaster General’s Hopes That New Argument to Avoid Administrative Arbitration, Not Raised Below, Is Unwaivable Because It Goes to Subject-Matter Jurisdiction - Ruiz v. Donahoe - 2015 WL 1811810...more

NLRB Holds Firm on its View that Class/Collective Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements Violate the NLRA

Despite overwhelming judicial disapproval, the NLRB simply will not relent in its view that mandatory arbitration agreements containing class/collective action waivers violate the National Labor Relations Act....more

California Court Allows Employee to Disaffirm Arbitration Agreement Due to Age

We thought we'd heard everything! This is a new one, that's for sure. It's no secret that employees try to wiggle out of arbitration agreements all of the time. There are the usual digs: the agreement was buried in the middle...more

NLRB Sticks To D.R. Horton

Recently in Chesapeake Energy Corp., 362 NLRB No. 80 (Apr. 30, 2015), the NLRB held fast to its ruling in D.R. Horton, Inc., 357 NLRB No. 184 (2012). The employer required its employees to sign an arbitration agreement as a...more

California Employer Successful in Arbitration Policy Dispute

Serafin v. Balco Properties Ltd., LLC, No. A141358 (March 16, 2015): The California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District recently upheld an arbitration award in favor of an employer despite the employee’s...more

California Court Finds Arbitration Agreement Did Not Unlawfully Limit Judicial Review

Valdez v. Santa Lucia Preserve Co., No. H040685 (March 23, 2015): In an unpublished opinion, the California Court of Appeal for the Sixth Appellate District overturned a trial court’s ruling denying an employer’s motion to...more

Mediation Pilot Program Caps Year of OSC Enforcement Developments

On May 1, 2015, the Enforcement Branch of the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC) will launch a mediation pilot program. This program caps a year that has seen significant changes to the OSC’s approach to initiating and...more

ADR Is on the Rise in Employment Cases

While there is a long history of utilizing arbitration in the labor union context, the majority of employment disputes have historically been litigated in federal court. Federal courts tend to be more formal than state...more

Decisions Raise Bar on Waiver of Arbitration Agreements Under Texas Law

While employers may enter into arbitration agreements with employees relatively easily, ensuring the enforcement of arbitration agreements can be a different matter. For this reason, employers are rightfully cautious to avoid...more

Sixth Circuit Decision Refusing to Enforce Collective Action Waiver Included in Separation Agreement Remains Intact; Supreme Court...

This week, the Supreme Court disappointed many employers by declining to determine whether the Fair Labor Standards Act does or does not provide employees with a non-waivable substantive right to bring a collective action. ...more

A Court Abandons Horton

In February 2013, we reported on a federal court in Idaho that followed the NLRB’s D.R. Horton decision and ruled that agreements to arbitrate all claims solely on an individual basis were unenforceable. Here’s the rest of...more

Court Applies Concepcion And Compels Arbitration, Rejecting Claim That Agreement Precluded “Effective Vindication Of State...

In a putative class action alleging violation of Pennsylvania labor laws, unfair trade practices, and other state law claims brought by a franchisee against the franchisor and two subsidiaries, the court stayed the...more

Recent Cases Provide Helpful Reminders Regarding Best Practices (and Pitfalls) with Employment Arbitration Clauses

Scrutiny of mandatory, pre-employment arbitration agreements continues before California state and federal courts. Several recent decisions provide helpful reminders for employers drafting, reviewing or enforcing arbitration...more

Arbitration Agreement With PAGA Waiver And Opt Out Provision Deemed Unenforceable

Last month, a California Court of Appeal invalidated an arbitration agreement for including a representative action waiver combined with a non-severability clause....more

Fenwick Employment Brief - March 2015

Recent Cases Provide Helpful Reminders Regarding Best Practices (and Pitfalls) with Employment Arbitration Clauses - Scrutiny of mandatory, pre-employment arbitration agreements continues before California state and...more

"Unconscionable" to Provide Arbitration Agreement to Dancers While "Mostly Naked"

Not surprisingly, a court has found that employers should probably not present (and potentially force execution of) important legal documents to employees while they are mostly naked. This shouldn't be too much of a stretch...more

Tactics Kill Arb Agreement

In Roe v. SFBSC Management, LLC, No. 14-cv-03616 (N.D. Cal. Mar. 2, 2015), a federal district court in California rejected a night club’s attempt to compel arbitration by a class of performers who claimed they were...more

Forced Arbitration Pervades Contractual Agreements, Binding Consumers

Margaret Jane Radin, author of Boilerplate: The Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law, is of the point of view that the American court system is “allowing contract to gobble up tort.” In other words, the 37-year...more

NLRB Tightens Arbitration Deferral Standards

The National Labor Relations Board (“Board” or “NLRB”) has long limited its involvement in disputes between employers and unions concerning labor agreements that provide for binding arbitration where the disputes involve...more

Arbitration Agreements Can Backfire on Employers

It is no secret that arbitration agreements may greatly reduce the risks that many employers face in disputes with employees. For example, when used correctly, such agreements can curb exposure to class actions by forcing...more

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