Lauren Teukolsky’s commentary was featured this week in a Bloomberg Law article on a pending case before the California Supreme Court, Adoph v. Uber Techs, Inc. The case is being closely monitored by both employee-side and management-side attorneys because of its potential ramifications for PAGA (Private Attorneys General Act) litigation.
In the case, California’s highest court will decide whether aggrieved employees maintain standing to bring “non-individual” PAGA claims against their employers on behalf of similarly aggrieved employees when their individual claims are sent to arbitration, a private, quasi-court forum that is favored by employers.
If the Court rules that such employees maintain their standing, it will clear the way for many employees to continue enforcing the state’s labor laws through PAGA, a 2004 state law that authorizes employees to collect civil penalties for violations against themselves and their coworkers on behalf of California’s Labor Commissioner, which has struggled to manage a backlog of cases for the past several decades.
If the Court rules in Uber’s favor, the outlook for the state’s employees would not be so favorable. The Bloomberg Law article states:
“A ruling in favor of Uber allowing claims to be split into individual and non-individual components could make it more difficult to bring PAGA cases forward, said Lauren Teukolsky, a plaintiff’s lawyer and founder of Teukolsky Law in Pasadena, Calif.
‘It’s going to make PAGA litigation much more cumbersome,’ she said. Teukolsky expects the court to rule this summer or in early fall.”
Ms. Teukolsky also discussed why forcing employees to arbitrate claims is detrimental to them:
“Teukolsky said that arbitration comes at a cost for employees because they waive their civil rights, such as the right to a jury trial and the right to an appeal, when they are asked to sign an arbitration agreement,” the article states.
The case follows the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2022 decision in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana in which a concurring opinion by Justice Sonia Sotomayor said that California courts should have the final say in whether employers can force arbitration for representative claims.
To read the article in its entirety, click here.
Lauren Teukolsky is the founder and owner of Teukolsky Law, A Professional Corporation.