California employers are eagerly awaiting a decision in the pending state Supreme Court case, Adolph v. Uber. The Court is poised to decide whether an employee compelled to arbitration their individual Labor Code claims may still pursue their PAGA (Private Attorneys General Act) claims on behalf of other employees. Why do employers care? Because of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana, which we wrote about here.
In the Viking decision, the Court ruled that an employee who has been compelled to arbitrate their individual Labor Code claims does not have standing to pursue PAGA claims involving other employees in court. Of course, Viking made arbitration agreements attractive to most California employers because they potentially could dispose of an entire PAGA action with a valid agreement. Unfortunately, however, the Court left open the chance that the California Supreme Court would reject the standing argument.
The Adolph v. Uber case will decide the matter in California. On May 9, 2023, the California Supreme Court heard oral arguments. Without boring you with a bunch of legal details, suffice it to say that the arguments were lively, but not entirely convincing one way or the other. The Court will file its opinion within 90 days of the hearing, and the decision will become final 30 days later. So, we should have an answer by August 7 or so.