We previously updated on the U.S. Supreme Court case of Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana (“Viking River”) regarding employee arbitration agreement waivers for California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) actions.  The U.S. Supreme Court said that employee individual and the PAGA representative claims (like a class action) could be split so that the employee’s individual claims go to arbitration under the employee’s arbitration agreement (in an employee handbook or in another employee/employer agreement), but the U.S. Supreme Court (the highest federal court) explicitly left open the question for the California Supreme Court (the highest California state court) to decide what happens then to the PAGA state claims.

The California Supreme Court just made that decision.  It decided the case of Adolph v. Uber, ruling that an order compelling arbitration of individual claims in a PAGA lawsuit does not strip the employee Plaintiff of standing to represent and litigate the non-individual PAGA claims, it just puts the PAGA claims on hold in court until the individual claims are decided by arbitration.  But, if the employee loses wage and hour claims at arbitration on their individual claims, then that employee cannot proceed with the PAGA claims in court as a representative of other aggrieved employees.

Employers have taken action and lobbied for a new measure to be put on the 2024 ballot:  the California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act, which seeks to eliminate employee’s representative PAGA claims completely and put enforcement of those claims back to the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement.  Either way, prudent employers should review their arbitration agreements to comply with these new rulings.   So, please make sure your company is up-to-date with the quickly changing legal employment laws.  Spending time and money on up-front compliance programs and working with counsel can save time, heartache, and money in the end.  Epps & Coulson, LLP has represented clients of all business types in employment matters.  We keep up with what’s going on in these core areas.  We are here to help you plan and grow and protect your business and rights.  Please feel free to contact Dawn: for any questions.

Information contained in this Memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is likely considered advertising.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.  Epps & Coulson, LLP has affiliated Counsel offices in New York and Connecticut with lawyers also admitted in Connecticut, District of Columbia Massachusetts (pending), New Jersey, Hawaii, European Union, England and Whales, France (Paris Bar) and Sweden.

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