The United States Supreme Court has declined to hear an important California case that protects workers’ rights to pursue Labor Code penalties in a representative action. The case, Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC, involved a dispute between limo driver Arshavir Iskanian and employer CLS Transportation Los Angeles LLC (“CLS”). Iskanian signed an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment which included a waiver of class and representative actions.
The case came to the US Supreme Court following a ruling in the California Supreme Court in favor of the employee and preserving an employee’s right to a representative action under California’s Private Attorney General Act. (“PAGA”) The California Supreme Court also held that a representation action under the Labor Code’s PAGA statute cannot be denied representative status by class waiver in an arbitration agreement. The US Supreme Court’s refusal to hear the case means the California Supreme Court’s ruling is upheld and must be enforced in state courts.
The Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) is a powerful tool in labor law enforcement available to all California workers. For more detail on the California Supreme Court ruling, see our blog from June 2014: “California Supreme Court Rules in Iskanian: Class Action Waivers In Employment Arbitration Agreements Are Valid.”