United States District Court Judge Kimberly Mueller has granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction in full halting enforcement of AB 51, which, effective January 1, would have prohibited employers from requiring job applicants and employees to arbitrate claims under the California Labor Code and the Fair Employment and Housing Act, California Government Code §§12900 et seq.
AB51 passed the state Assembly last May and the state Senate in September. It was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom the following month.
According to its proponents, the bill sought to ensure “that employees maintain their right to sue employers in court and retain access to the procedural class action mechanism.”
A coalition consisting of the California Chamber of Commerce and a large coalition of employers had challenged the law, filing a suit arguing that AB 51 conflicts with federal law. Of particular concern to employers were provisions of the law that placed what they deemed “the extraordinary burden of criminal penalties punishable by imprisonment and fines.”
The coalition filed their initial motion to invalidate and stop enforcement of AB 51 on December 6, 2019. On December 30, 2019, Judge Mueller issued a temporary restraining order, halting enforcement of AB 51 until the matter could be resolved.