Waivers are valid in employment dispute

At times, workers may have disputes with their employers. Sometimes these disputes may be resolved by having a simple discussion while others are more complicated and result in a lawsuit. If an arbitration agreement exists between a California worker and his or her employer, one may not be able to take the matter to court in the event of an employment dispute.

A court recently dropped a plaintiff’s claim that class-action waivers were illegal due to the National Labor Relations Act. An arbitration agreement is a legally binding contract between a worker and his or her employer, as long as it was not entered into due to fraud or duress. In one case, the Supreme Court determined that the right for someone to be entitled to overtime cannot be waived.

In addition, it found that having this waiver would hinder the worker’s ability to enforce overtime policies. The court further determined that a class-action waiver would no longer be valid if there is a strong possibility of affected workers being exonerated through litigation. According to PAGA, a wronged employee has the right to file civil litigation as an individual and also on behalf of other employees due to violations of labor code.

When any employer is not acting accordingly, it can lead to an employment dispute, especially if the employer is in violation of labor code. Many employers require employees to enter into an arbitration agreement before being hired, which prohibits the worker from bringing civil litigation unless they go through arbitration. California workers may be able to safeguard their standing by becoming more knowledgeable of their legal rights.

Source: The National Law Review, "California High Court: Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Valid, But Waivers of Representative Actions under State Law Are Not", David G. Hoiles, Jr. and Fraser A. McAlpine and Robert M. Pattison and Jackson Lewis P.C., June 25, 2014

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