Arbitrator Should Decide Permissibility of Classwide Arbitration

California Employment Law Letter

Elizabeth J. Boca, an Associate in the Employment, Labor & Workforce Management practice, in the firm’s San Francisco office, authored an article in the California Employment Law Letter, titled “Arbitrator Should Decide Permissibility of Classwide Arbitration.”

Following is an excerpt:

Da Loc Nguyen is a former employee of Applied Medical Resources Corporation. Like many California employees, Nguyen signed an arbitration agreement when she was hired. The arbitration agreement contained language that required her to pay half the costs and fees of the arbitration and agree that the arbitration would be conducted under the rules of the American Arbitration Association (AAA). The agreement didn’t include the AAA rules. Although the agreement didn’t expressly indicate that it covered class actions and representative claims, it contained language stating that Nguyen agreed to submit all disputes to binding arbitration.

In 2014, Nguyen filed a lawsuit against Applied in Orange County Superior Court alleging it failed to comply with certain aspects of the Labor Code and properly pay wages and overtime. She filed the lawsuit on both an individual and a classwide basis (i.e., she brought the action on behalf of herself and other employees of Applied).