California Employment Laws Scheduled to Take Effect in 2020

California Employment Laws Schedule to Take Effect in 2020 – Part 1. Arbitration Agreements

According to California Employment Law Report, California passed several new employment laws in 2019 that will take effect on the first of January 2020 – with limited exceptions. This is the first of a series of write-ups on these new laws.

AB 51 is a law in response to the mandatory arbitration clauses that employers across the country have been insisting employees sign. The law essentially bans these arbitration clauses so that employees can file employee rights claims in civil court instead of having their case heard by a panel of arbitrations. Employers have been pressuring employees to sign mandatory arbitration clauses because civil actions are generally better for employees than arbitration actions.

The law is likely to be subject to litigation because the federal courts, including the Supreme Court, have favored mandatory arbitration clauses. The new law applies to violations of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Labor Code, and other California employment laws.

The law also forbids employers from “threatening, retaliating, discriminating against, or firing any employee who ruses to sign the mandatory arbitration clause or to a consent wavier.” Violations of the law would be a crime and would constitute unlawful employment practices under FEHA. The bill does establish some exceptions.

The law does not apply to mandatory arbitration employment contracts created before January 1, 2010. Other exceptions may also apply.

SB 707 requires that employers pay specific fees and costs for an employment-related arbitration within 30 days after the due date. Failure to pay on time will be considered a breach of the employment agreement. The employer will then waive its right to force the employee to agree to arbitration. The employee can then proceed in civil court or force the arbitration – where the employer must pay legal fees and costs. Employers may also be subject to additional sanctions.

At the Law Offices of Stephen Danz & Associates, we are experienced trial and arbitration lawyers. Call us at 877-789-9707 or complete our online form to speak with a strong employment law attorney.