Splitting Hairs and Wasting Time

Hernandez v. Ross Stores, 4/2, 1/3/17

Employee filed a single count PAGA claim based on various alleged California Labor Code violations. The trial court denied employer’s motion to compel arbitration (of course). We all know what Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC (2014) 59 Cal.4th 348, 387 (Iskanian) says about whether employers can require its employees to arbitrate their PAGA claims (they can’t). But based on supposed differences in the language of its arbitration agreement (the agreement covered “disputes” rather than “claims”), employer appealed, arguing that the employee was first required to arbitrate whether he was an “aggrieved party” before his PAGA claim could proceed in court. Whether an employee is “aggrieved” sounds like a question of standing, which is generally a sub-issue of the claim alleged. So we’re really talking about splitting hairs. It didn’t help employer’s position that another case (Williams v. Superior Court (2015) 237 Cal.App.4th 642) had already considered and rejected the same argument in 2015, and that employer in the Hernandez case could point to no case law supporting its position. Thus, the title of this post.

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January 4, 2017 | Objection Sustained |