Lauren Teukolsky was featured in an article in the Daily Journal on Friday, October 25, 2019 entitled, "Plaintiffs' attorneys flood employers with arbitration cases." Ms. Teukolsky described an effective strategy that she has pursued to vindicate her clients' workplace rights when they have signed forced arbitration agreements giving up their right to bring class action claims in court with other workers who have similar claims. Ms. Teukolsky was quoted in the article saying, "This strategy was born out of necessity. . . It wasn't like we [developed] it in some back room. It was, 'How do I continue to enforce the labor code and protect my client's interests in the face of arbitration agreements that contain class action waivers?' And this was really the only option."
The strategy involves filing an action in court for penalties under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), one of the only remaining claims that employees can file in court despite an arbitration agreement, along with filing individual arbitration actions on behalf of several employees. Ms. Teukolsky described bringing a case on behalf of 57 clients, each of whom filed an individual arbitration claim. After winning the first four arbitrations, the entire case resolved.
Employers are required to foot the bill for all employment arbitrations in California, so this "swarm arbitration" strategy can be enormously expensive for employers - much more expensive than a streamlined class action case. It remains to be seen whether employers will continue to require their employees to sign arbitration agreements with class action waivers in light of the risk of a swarm arbitration.
If you believe that your rights under the Labor Code have been violated, get in touch with Teukolsky Law today for a free consultation. This includes being misclassified as an independent contractor, not getting proper breaks, and not being paid for all of the hours you have worked.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.