Employment Law Commentary: Collision Course: Conflict Between United States Supreme Court and California Judicial Interpretation of Arbitration Agreements Comes to a Head


In our April 2009 Employment Law Commentary, entitled

“Arbitration Agreements in Light of 114 Penn Plaza v. Pyett,” we contrasted the United States Supreme Court’s and California courts’ approaches to enforcement of arbitration agreements. We concluded that the federal high court has tended to enforce arbitration agreements in a manner that favors arbitration as an alternative to traditional adjudication, while California courts have generally viewed such agreements with skepticism.

These divergent approaches appear to be the result of a conflict between the U.S. Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) as it applies to arbitration agreements and the California judiciary’s desire to enforce the state’s substantive contract law—particularly with regard to the unconscionability defense to enforcement. In light of its grant of certiorari in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion, the Court may resolve this conflict by addressing whether and to what extent the FAA preempts California law....

Also in this issue: DHS Issues I-9 Electronic Filing Rule

In our April 2009 Employment Law Commentary entitled “New I-9 Forms in Effect,” we noted that all employers are required to begin using the new version of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (“USCIS”) Form I-9. On July 22, 2010, the United States Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”) published a final rule amending its regulations to allow I-9 forms to be signed electronically and retained in electronic format.13...

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