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Federal Court Temporarily Blocks AB 51, California Law Barring Mandatory Employment Arbitration

On December 30, 2019, Judge Kimberly Mueller of the United States District Court in the Eastern District granted a temporary restraining order, which enjoins California from enforcing AB 51.  AB 51 is a California anti-arbitration law signed by Governor Newsom on October 10, 2019 that was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2020.  The law prohibits employers from requiring that job applicants or workers sign arbitration agreements as a condition of their employment or continued employment.  AB 51 specifically states that it is not “intended to invalidate a written arbitration agreement that is otherwise enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act.”

On January 10, 2020, Judge Mueller will hear the Motion for Preliminary Injunction relating to the enforcement of AB 51.  If Mueller grants the Motion for Preliminary Injunction, California will not be able to enforce AB 51 while litigation on the enforceability of AB 51 continues.  Hill, Farrer, and Burrill will keep you apprised regarding the outcome of that Motion.