Los Angeles partner Steven Katz provided expert analysis for Law360 on the impliactions of the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the California Supreme Court's ruling in OTO LLC v. Kho, noting that California employers are going to need to review their arbitration programs.
Katz says OTO breaks new ground in California arbitration law and could be interpreted to call into question the enforceability of many employer arbitration programs in the state.
He notes that OTO clearly establishes a double standard for the procedural rules governing different types of employment disputes. One for wage disputes that would be subject to a Berman hearing, and another for wrongful termination, discrimination and harassment claims.
The takeaway is that employers need to pay close attention to their arbitration agreements:
"Make the agreement a stand-alone document, reasonably formatted and readable. Offer translations for employees who do not speak English. Have employees take home the agreement and sign it when they return for their next shift. Have a supervisor give a copy of the agreement to employees and give them an opportunity to ask questions. Treat it as something important — and not just routine paperwork — because it is."
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