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  • Anti-Arbitration Proposal Keeps Moving in Senate

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    June 21, 2019
    By  Jennifer Barrera   -  June 21, 2019

    An anti-arbitration bill identified by the California Chamber of Commerce as a job killer passed through the first Senate committee to consider it this week.

    The Senate Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee approved AB 51 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), which prohibits arbitration of labor and employment claims as a condition of employment.

    AB 51 is a job killer due to the significant increased costs employers will face as a result of more litigation and the expense of delayed dispute resolutions.

    AB 51 also proposes to add a new private right of action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and exposes employers to criminal liability for any violation

    Preempted by Federal Law

    In testifying against AB 51, CalChamber Executive Vice President Jennifer Barrera emphasized to Senate committee members that the bill will be challenged in court and struck down.

    Last year, Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. vetoed a virtually identical bill, AB 3080 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego), citing his recognition that the bill “plainly violates federal law.”

    Both the California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court have specifically held that state legislation trying to ban arbitration agreements is preempted by federal law, the Federal Arbitration Act.

    Numerous opinions by the U.S. Supreme Court and the California Supreme Court over the last decade have consistently held that any state law that interferes with, discriminates against, or limits the use of arbitration is preempted by federal law.

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