Breaking News: Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction To Block AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law
Breaking News: Federal Court Grants Preliminary Injunction To Block AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law

U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller just granted a preliminary injunction to block Assembly Bill 51 throughout future court proceedings, which will examine the enforceability of the new law.  This is welcome news for California employers because it means that the status quo remains in effect: Employers can continue to require arbitration agreements as a condition of employment for their employees unless and until the court rules otherwise.   

To recap the brief but controversial history of this new law, AB 51 was originally supposed to become effective on January 1, 2020 but this never happened.  Rather, in December of 2019, a coalition of businesses sought a temporary restraining order (TRO), which Judge Mueller granted, effectively putting the law on emergency hold until oral arguments earlier this month.  Following the oral arguments, Judge Mueller extended the TRO through today, January 31, 2020, to allow time for the parties to engage in further briefing.  As of today, the court granted a full preliminary injunction to last throughout further court proceedings to consider the issue of whether California’s AB 51 conflicts with the Federal Arbitration Act. 

For the time being, California employers can legally continue requiring employees to sign arbitration agreements.  However, whether AB 51 will prevent this practice in the future is uncertain.  And whether the new law ultimately will prevent mandatory arbitration agreements in the employment context remains to be seen in the coming weeks and months.

For a more detailed account of the troubled start for AB 51 and what it means for employers, see our earlier blog posts from January 2nd and January 13th.  And to continue to receive updates on AB 51, subscribe to this blog.   

This blog is presented under protest by the law firm of Ervin Cohen & Jessup LLP.  It is essentially the random thoughts and opinions of someone who lives in the trenches of the war that often is employment law–he/she may well be a little shell-shocked. So if you are thinking “woohoo, I just landed some free legal advice that will fix all my problems!”, think again. This is commentary, people, a sketchy overview of some current legal issue with a dose of humor, but commentary nonetheless; as if Dennis Miller were a lawyer…and still mildly amusing. No legal advice here; you would have to pay real US currency for that (unless you are my mom, and even then there are limits). But feel free to contact us with your questions and comments—who knows, we might even answer you. And if you want to spread this stuff around, feel free to do so, but please keep it in its present form (‘cause you can’t mess with this kind of poetry). Big news: Copyright 2020. All rights reserved; yep, all of them.


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