Judge Orders Emergency Halt of AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law
Judge Orders Emergency Halt of AB 51 Employment Arbitration Law

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Monday, December 30, to halt enforcement of California’s Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51), which was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020. AB 51 would have prevented employers from requiring employees to enter arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment for claims brought under California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act and the Labor Code. AB 51 also would allow workers to pursue damages and attorneys’ fees and open employers up to criminal enforcement of up to six months imprisonment for violating AB 51’s requirements.

Earlier in December, a coalition of businesses led by the California Chamber of Commerce (CalChamber) sued and asked the court for emergency relief to stop the bill from taking effect. CalChamber argued in its motion for preliminary injunction that businesses could suffer irreparable harm by continuing to require arbitration in the good faith belief that AB 51 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and is unconstitutional.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller agreed with the businesses that they had raised “serious questions” about AB 51 and fast-tracked oral arguments on CalChamber’s motion up to January 10, 2020. If the motion is granted, it could indefinitely delay implementation of AB 51. In the meantime, the status quo remains in place until the motion is heard, a small New Year’s gift for employers.



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.

If you have any questions regarding this blog, contact kbrooks@ecjlaw.com of ECJ’s Employment Law Department.

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