Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California?

 

Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California?

Keynote Speaker Spotlight with Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone 

Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California? PIHRA 2020 Legal Update Blog

Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California?

Happy new year – it’s time for your business to comply with the new California and federal laws! You may know that many California employers have implemented mandatory arbitration agreements for their employees — and for very good reason. However, the California Legislature and Supreme Court recently and continuously have sought to make mandatory arbitration agreements illegal and unenforceable. Are you unsure of how that impacts your business? If so, then make plans to join our keynote speakers at a PIHRA 2020 Legal Update near you!

In this this keynote program at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update, Michelle and Rich will cover the benefits and risks of mandatory arbitration agreements for all employees. Secondly, they will cover the impact of the recent attacks on those agreements by the California Legislature with the passage and Governor’s signing of AB 51 and SB 707. Thirdly, they’ll cover the decision of the California Supreme Court in Oto LLC v. Kho (September, 2019). In conclusion, you’ll learn what employers need to do currently to prepare and implement enforceable arbitration agreements.

Michelle and Rich will provide takeaways such as:

  • Understand the benefits and risks of mandatory arbitration agreements in California.
  • Understand the target of the most recent Legislative and judicial attacks on arbitration agreements and how to avoid subjecting your arbitration agreement to a successful attack.
  • Learn the terms and procedures employers need to include and follow in order to ensure their arbitration agreement is enforceable.

Michelle and Rich’s PIHRA 2020 Legal Update keynote session “Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California?” will be informative and entertaining. It’s a must-attend for California employers who need to know about these complex legislative topics. Above all, business owners and HR pros will gain the insight needed to navigate the trickiest new 2020 employment laws in California.

In order to uncover the full value Michelle and Rich will provide, Baskaran Ambalavanan interviewed our keynote speakers themselves. Read on to learn more about this tricky topic and what you can expect at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update.

Keynote Speaker Spotlight: Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone, Littler

Special thanks to contributing writer and PIHRA Programs Chair, Baskaran Ambalavanan. Baskaran conducted this interview with PIHRA 2020 Legal Update keynote speakers Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone.

PIHRA: Effective January 1, 2020 California employers can no longer compel workers into signing an ‘Arbitration Agreement’ as a condition of employment. As a result, how can CA employers minimize the risk?

Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone: Well, the simple answer probably is to have “voluntary” agreements with a carve-out for uncovered claims. However, for those employers that are willing to be bold and creative, there are other alternatives.

Doesn’t AB5 pre-empt the FAA? Should employers change the language now or wait until it’s litigated and decided in the courts?

Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone: Actually, there’s a very compelling argument that the FAA preempts AB 51. This will depend on each individual employer’s understanding of the risks. However, its risk aversion tolerance will dictate whether it is willing to require employees to sign an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment, or whether it will wait to see what the courts ultimately decide about the preemptive effect of the FAA on AB 51.

Is there a secret sauce to avoid subjecting the arbitration agreements from legal attacks?

Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone: Yes, by simply complying with the new requirements of AB 51. Or, we’ve heard it said that $$ can work as a legal incentive to satisfy the requirements of the law.

What is the best way to ensure arbitration agreements are enforceable in the AB5 era?

Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone: AB 51, like any law, basically sets out a step-by-step process or checklist for the reader to follow. We’ll cover that step-by-step process during our presentation. Moreover, we’ll also describe how employers can evaluate how much they can “push the margins,” but remain compliant.

Why are you excited to present at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update?

Michelle Rapoport and Rich Falcone: We are passionate about helping employers, all employers, to meet their obligations under California’s ever changing workplace laws. That passion is not simply motivated by a need to comply with all laws. As a result, we see employers, particularly the small and medium size businesses, as the backbone of California and our country. Furthermore, businesses create jobs and allow employees and their families to meet the basic necessities to survive and hopefully to prosper. Those business owners are today’s “Horatio Alger’s.” Above all, we want to help them succeed by providing a clear roadmap for complying with California’s very complex employment laws.


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About Michelle Rapoport, Keynote Speaker at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update

Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California? with Michelle Rapoport at PIHRA 2020 Legal UpdateMichelle Rapoport is a shareholder with Littler Mendelson. Littler is the largest U.S.-based law firm exclusively devoted to representing management in employment and labor law matters.

She concentrates her practice on discrimination and harassment, wrongful termination, and wage and hour class action claims. She is an experienced litigator who represents companies in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, logistics, retail, and health care.

Additionally, Michelle counsels employers on a variety of issues. These include disability accommodations, leaves of absence, employee discipline, employee handbooks and general employment policies and procedures.

Recently, Michelle has:

  • Defeated class certification in a state wide class action involving thousands of employees in the financial industry.
    • This includes claims of “off the clock” overtime and failure to pay overtime at the correct rate.
    • Lastly, this includes meal and rest break violations.
  • Defeated class certification on behalf of a Fortune 500 company in a state-wide class action alleging “off the clock” overtime.
  • Obtained summary judgment in a case alleging disability discrimination, harassment, wrongful termination in violation of public policy, on behalf of a large retailer.
  • Successfully represented an engineering firm in a dispute alleging discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, retaliation, harassment, and breach of contract.
  • Obtained summary adjudication of wage-and-hour claims alleging failure to reimburse for business expenses for a company in the financial industry.
  • Obtained a defense verdict in a jury trial alleging sex and disability discrimination and harassment for a national medical supply company.

About Rich S. Falcone, Keynote Speaker at the PIHRA 2020 Legal Update

Are Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Now Illegal in California? with Rich Falcone at PIHRA 2020 Legal UpdateRichard S. Falcone specializes in the representation of management in all aspects of employment and labor law and litigation. He regularly appears before state and federal courts and administrative agencies and focuses his practice on:

  • Wrongful termination
  • Discrimination claims of every nature
  • Sexual harassment
  • Wage and hour
  • Trade secrets misappropriation and unfair competition
  • Labor relations
  • Occupational safety and health
  • Workplace violence restraining orders.

Rich also counsels and advises employers on all issues arising under state and federal employment and labor relations laws, including:

  • Litigation avoidance
  • Employee terminations
  • Workplace investigations
  • Drafting compensation and severance packages
  • Protection of proprietary information
  • Reductions-in-force
  • Workplace violence
  • Employee training.

Rich has achieved many significant results in litigation on behalf of his clients during his 30 years of practice. In several cases he represented a national grocery chain. In the first, he obtained a motion to declare the plaintiff a vexatious litigant. In the second, the court dismissed the case and awarded the client recovery of some of its attorney’s fees. He also handled a case for a major bank, in which he obtained the dismissal of a wage and hour class action. In another, the court granted his motion for summary judgment, dismissing the case and awarding the client recovery of costs.

Richard is a regular speaker on various subjects, such as:

  • eDiscovery
  • Leaves of absence
  • Sexual harassment
  • Union organization issues.

Additionally, he also gives litigation overview presentations for human resources professionals and managers. In law school, he was associate editor of the Santa Clara Law Review.


Is it time to renew your PIHRA membership?

This special offer (for active PIHRA members only) ends January 30, 2020:

Check out our Legal Update Renewal Bundles for Active PIHRA Members!


Interview Conducted by Baskaran Ambalavanan, MBA, SPHR, GPHR, SHRM-SCP, PIHRA Programs Chair

Baskaran Ambalavanan, PIHRA Programs ChairBaskaran Ambalavanan, MBA, has more than two decades of HR experience in India, Oman, and the U.S. in both the functional HR and in the HRIS/HR Technology.

He is the Principal of Hila Solutions, LLC, a full-service HR Technology Advisory firm for SMEs. Baskaran earned his MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School, U.K. and also certified in SPHR, SHRM-SCP, GPHR, and PHRca.

He is based in Irvine, California and serving as the Programs Chair for PIHRA and an active volunteer leader in SHRM, IHRIM. In his role as PIHRA Programs Chair, Baskaran is instrumental in curating HR sessions for the PIHRA Legal Update and the California HR Conference. He is responsible for assembling the Task Force that selects California HR Conference speakers.

You can follow Baskaran’s insights on all things technology, HR, leadership, and strategy on Twitter at @baski_LA and LinkedIn. Register today to join us at a PIHRA 2020 Legal Update near you and learn from the top legal experts in California!


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Experience a comprehensive California legal update with Professionals In Human Resources Association. In the world of human resources, staying ahead of constantly evolving employment laws and workplace legislation is essential. Thankfully, PIHRA’s most famous flagship program will provide timely information, tips and crucial resources you need. Our expert speakers will help you cut through the complexity, so that you can protect your organization and effectively manage risk. 

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