One case, two destinations: Arbitration and court!

Here’s a decision that may complicate matters for employers that use arbitration agreements to keep employment disagreements out of federal courts.

Recent case: Roberto, a trucker, accepted work as an independent contractor and signed an arbitration agreement. He later sued, alleging that under California’s Labor Code, he was misclassified. He also brought the action as a so-called PAGA claim, which is a private action on behalf of fellow employees.

The employer moved for arbitration of all claims, but the court said employers can’t force PAGA claims into arbitration. It sent Roberto’s individual claims to arbitration, retaining the group claims for later should Roberto win his individual claim in arbitration. Thus, he may have two bites at the apple. (Aviles v. Quik Pick Express, 9th Cir., 2017)