Calvin Associates, Inc.

post »Who Decides Whether Arbitration Will Include Class Claims? California High Court Says Ambiguous Agreements May Be Decided in Favor of Workers 8-2-16

August 04 2016, 9:20 pm

Bruce’s Summary: Remember all those people you have hired over the years, well something important has just been changed by the California Supreme Court in contradiction with the federal appellate courts. All those Arbitration Agreements that you have signed and neatly filed away may have a ticking sound coming from them now. Their just lying there now waiting.

According to the author, a new question emerged and was answered by the high court and it’s not pretty. The high court raised the question and answered it as to how a court or an arbitrator would decide if an arbitration agreement permits class claims by looking at the terms of the agreement.

The author further states “the majority found that class arbitration was available to the plaintiff because the agreement (in this case) broadly allowed for any employment-related disputes to be resolved by an arbitrator.” So, if there is silence on whether the agreement prohibited an arbitrator from deciding the availability of class arbitration, ambiguity would fall against the drafting party.

Time to dust a few Arbitration Agreements off and see what your language says and if it doesn’t say so, time to revise, distribute and get new ones signed by all and filed neatly away until the next major change. “None of the information contained herein should be construed as legal advice, nor are Calvin Associates consultants engaged to offer legal advice. If there is a need for legal advice, please contact and seek the advice of independent legal counsel.”