After many years of litigation, employer Lamps Plus successfully defended its arbitration agreement all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court (“SCOTUS”), when the Court’s conservative majority ruled that a court may not compel class-arbitration unless the parties’ arbitration agreement shows that the parties agreed to that process.

In the case at issue, Varela v. Lamps Plus an employee sued its employer, Lamps Plus, over a data breach issue where 1,300 employees’ tax information was released by a hacker. The employee sued on behalf of himself and other employees whose information was released. The employer sought to enforce its arbitration agreement with employee, arguing that the case should be compelled to individual arbitration—meaning that the employee could arbitrate his claim only. The District Court compelled the claim to arbitration, but authorized the employee to pursue the claims as a class representative—meaning that the case would proceed as a class-action in arbitration. The employer appealed, saying that the employee could not pursue a class claim in arbitration, and that only the employee’s individual claim should be pursued. The issue was heard by the Ninth Circuit, who agreed again with the employee that class treatment in arbitration was appropriate because the arbitration agreement was ambiguous on the issue of class arbitration.

Save the date for our upcoming seminar in Santa Maria!

Michael Saqui will be presenting a Hot Topics 2019 seminar on May 22, 2019. The cost is $45 and you can register here.

For more information, you can view the flyer.


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Arbitration Agreement Held Valid Despite Employee’s Rejection

On Wednesday, a three judge panel for the Second Appellate District provided a win for employers, ruling that although an employee would not sign an employer’s arbitration agreement, the employee is still bound by the arbitration agreement because the employer declared upfront that the arbitration agreement was a mandatory condition of continued employment.

On December 2, 2016, Sohnen Enterprises (“the Company”) notified it’s at-will employees at a staff meeting that it was adopting an arbitration policy to resolve employment-related disputes. At this staff meeting, the Company’s Chief Operating Office informed Plaintiff Erika Diaz (“Diaz”) and other employees that by continuing to work, the Company would take it as an acceptance of the arbitration agreement regardless if the employee signed the written version. At the meeting, Diaz refused to sign the agreement and made it clear that she did not want to accept the terms. The Company had private follow-up meetings with Diaz and advised her again in English and Spanish that continuing to work constituted acceptance of the agreement. On December 23, 2016, Diaz filed a discrimination suit against the Company while her counsel simultaneously sent a letter to the Company reiterating that Diaz rejects the arbitration agreement but she still intends to continue her employment.

DOL Proposes Excluding Bonuses and Other Perks from Employee’s Regular Rate of Pay

On Thursday, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a proposed rule that would clarify and update what employers should include and exclude when calculating an employee’s “regular rate of pay” for overtime purposes.

Generally, under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) employees that are eligible for overtime must be paid at one-and-one half times their “regular rate of pay” for each hour worked over 40 hours in a workweek. The FLSA defines “regular rate of pay” as “all remuneration for employment paid to, or on behalf of, the employee” except for 8 specific nonwage compensations the FLSA lays out in FLSA Section 7(e). This means an employee’s regular rate of pay is not just an employee’s hourly rate of pay, but rather includes “all remuneration for employment”—unless specifically excluded by Section 7(e) of the FLSA. The proposed rule interprets these 8 exceptions and would exclude several nonwage payments and perks that would otherwise increase an employee’s overtime rate such as non-discretionary bonuses, paid leave cash outs, expense reimbursement and other nonwage perks such as wellness programs.

It's time to sign up for the 2019 H-2A Roundtable Sessions! This year's Roundtable sessions will be held in multiple locations and the Santa Maria session will be presented in both English and Spanish! These are offered at no cost and you can register by following the link at the bottom of the flyer.

We will continue to inform you of upcoming seminar dates and locations. We are here when you need us!

Save the date for the upcoming 2019 H-2A Roundtable Sessions! This year Roundtable Sessions will be held in multiple locations and the Santa Maria Session will be presented in both English and in Spanish!


For more information, you can download the flyer.


We will continue to inform you of upcoming seminar dates and locations. We are here when you need us!

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