Governor signs new workplace arbitration, sexual harassment laws

October 14, 2019Media Mention
Los Angeles Daily Journal

Just hours before his deadline, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a number of bills Friday that will deeply affect labor and employment in California, but the most far-reaching law is headed for court challenges.

Chief among them is Assembly Bill 51, which prohibits its businesses from requiring workers to sign arbitration agreements as a condition of their potential or continuing employment. Authored by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez, D-San Diego, the bill sparked heated debates last month before passing through the Legislature.

But Karina B. Sterman, a partner in the litigation and employment law departments of Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger LLP, said the bill will likely face opposition in federal court as it conflicts with the Federal Arbitration Act and several well-established cases, including the state Supreme Court 's decision in Armendariz v. Foundation Health Psychcare Services, Inc.