News & Commentary

July 29, 2014

The California State Supreme Court recently issued a decision that arbitration agreements with mandatory class action waivers are enforceable within the state. In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC (decided June 23, 2014), the Court struck its earlier decision in Gentry v. Superior Court. Gentry had found that a class action waiver could “undermine the vindication of [. . .] employees’ unwaivable statutory rights” and thus be unenforceable. The California Supreme Court held in Iskanian that following Concepcion, the Federal Arbitration Act preempted the Gentry rule. The court further adopted the Fifth Circuit’s reasoning in D.H. Horton, rejecting an argument that class waivers are invalid under the National Labor Relations Act. (OnLabor has covered D.H. Horton here and here.) The court did, however, carve out an exception for representative actions brought under California’s Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (“PAGA”), holding that employers cannot force employees to waive their right to bring representative PAGA actions in any forum. The decision can be found here and more background on the case can be found here.

The Washington Post reports that the National Basketball Players Association, the union for NBA players, has chosen Michele Roberts as their new president. Roberts, formerly of the law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom, will become the first woman to head a major sports union.

The L.A. Times reports that unaccompanied immigrant children apprehended at the U.S. border are being rushed to see immigration judges – in some cases, the immigrants are given less than 48 hours to appear in court. Though some argue this time frame is beneficial, other immigrant advocates say the “shortened time frame does not give recently arrived immigrants a fair chance to find a lawyer and build a successful case.”

In international news, the Wall Street Journal reports that Foxconn has confirmed the death of an employee in its Shenzhen, China factory. The employee’s cause of death is still under investigation. The WSJ also reports that South Africa’s biggest metalworkers union has accepted a wage offer to end a month-long strike. Over 200,000 members of the National Union of Metalworkers will receive a 10% salary increase over three years.


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