Sonya Goodwin’s article in Hunton on California’s new arbitration law

California’s Anti-Arbitration Bill Gets Signed Into Law

By Sonya Goodwin & Julia Y. Trankiem on October 29, 2019

Earlier this year, we wrote about a proposed bill in California, AB 51, which would prevent employers from requiring their employees to bring all employment-related claims, including discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and wage and hour claims, in arbitration instead of state or federal court.  Earlier this month, Governor Newsom signed AB 51 into law.

The bill adds a new Section 432.6 to the California Labor Code and Section 12953 to California Government Code (referencing 432.6).  These sections prohibit any person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure (via an arbitration agreement or any other method) for a violation of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) or the Labor Code as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit.  While the new law does not prohibit completely voluntary waivers, it specifically states that an agreement that requires an employee to opt out of such a waiver or take any other affirmative action to preserve their rights to a forum is considered a condition of employment, and is therefore unlawful under the statute.

Read the rest at Hunton Employment & Labor Perspectives