Viking Cruises to a Win for California Employers: Supreme Court Closes PAGA’s Backdoor to Avoid Arbitration Agreements (For Now)
Jun 16, 2022
Employers can enforce arbitration agreements in California to the extent they require an employee to arbitrate individual claims under the state’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), according to an 8 to 1 SCOTUS ruling that was issued today. The Court also held that once the employee’s individual claims under PAGA are compelled to arbitration, the employee would not have standing to bring a representative claim under PAGA on behalf of other aggrieved employees. However, the Court left open the possibility that the California Legislature could revise PAGA to allow an employee to bring representative claims in Court, even if the employee does not share any claims with the other employees they seek to represent. Employers have been clamoring for this ruling, as this decision marks the end of an eight-year battle to treat agreements to arbitrate representative actions in the same manner as waivers of class and collective actions. You should be prepared to make immediate adjustments to your alternative dispute resolution agreements, assess any existing representative litigation to capitalize on this hard-fought relief from PAGA’s abuses, and prepare for potential legislative changes to PAGA. Here’s what you need to know about the ruling.