California Appeals Court Strikes Down Arbitration Defense in Class Action Overtime Lawsuit

California Appeals Court Strikes Down Arbitration Defense in Class Action Overtime Lawsuit

LOS ANGELES — A California Appeals Court recently struck down a defendant’s motion to compel plaintiffs to honor an arbitration clause in a collective bargaining agreement on grounds the language of the clause violates wage and labor laws. The ruling is significant because although it affirms employers can engage in collective bargaining with labor unions to work around certain laws, it also holds any such agreements must be clear, unambiguous, and cite the specific laws the arbitration agreement supersedes.

The case began when the lead plaintiff, a nurse working for Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital brought a statutory claim against her employer alleging violations of the California Labor Code. Her claim stated the defendant failed to pay her and others for all her regular and overtime wages, as well as failure to provide proper meal and rest breaks.

Court Rules Collective Bargaining Agreements Must Refer to Specific Laws

As is common in many class action overtime pay lawsuits, the defendant attempted to skirt liability by pointing to arbitration provisions in the collecting bargaining agreement between Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital and the California Nurses Association, of which the lead plaintiff was a member of. The so-called “Grievance and Arbitration Section” outlined a three-step process workers were expected to go through to resolve job related complaints.

However, the Appeals Court ruled the provision could not be enforced because the language in the clause was to ambiguous as it did not state the specific statutory right the workers were forgoing by agreeing to the collective bargaining agreement. In particular, the court pointed out the sections on meal breaks and pay disputes contained to such language outlining California wage and labor laws.

The case is a perfect example of the lengths many unscrupulous employers may go to avoid paying workers all of the hard earned wages these employees need to provide for themselves and their families. Workers who think they may be victims of wage theft should contact an experienced overtime pay lawsuit attorney to discuss their case.

Health Care Worker Unpaid Overtime Lawsuit

Call (855) 754-2795 or complete the Free Unpaid Overtime Case Review form on the top right of this page if you feel that your wage rights are being violated under the FLSA. Our top-rated team of unpaid wage lawyers will evaluate your situation to determine your best course of action to help you seek justice.

Our office will also determine if it is in your best interest to file a lawsuit against your employer. Because strict time limitations apply for filing these types of claims, we advise you contact our experienced unpaid overtime wage attorneys at your earliest convenience and preserve your legal rights.

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