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ALRB Approves Arbitration Agreement Class Action Waivers

Rob Roy, Ventura County Agricultural Association

November 25, 2016

On November 18, 2016, the ALRB issued its decision in T.T. Miyasaka, Inc., Case No. 42 ALRB No. 6, in which it upheld a class action waiver in an employer’s arbitration policy and agreement in its handbook.  The Board’s decision affirmed the lower decision of its Administrative Law Judge who found that employees who, as a condition of their employment, agreed to arbitrate their employment-related disputes on an individual basis and waiving their right to file class actions did not constitute a violation of an employee’s right to engage in concerted activity under the Agricultural Labor Relations Act.

This is a landmark decision by the ALRB in that it relied upon the California Supreme Court’s decision in the matter of Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC, which upheld the use of class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.  In that case, the Supreme Court directly addressed and rejected the NLRB’s decision in D.R. Horton, which stated that class action waivers were unlawful under the NLRA.  The ALRB concluded that the Iskanian decision from the highest court in California, compelled a California state agency, like the ALRB, to rule that class action waivers do not violate the ALRA.