California State Assembly member Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher has introduced a bill, AB 3080, that seeks to ban employers from requiring employees or prospective employees to sign pre-dispute mandatory arbitration agreements. In addition, the bill would prohibit so-called “hush agreements” that prevent employees or independent contractors from reporting instances of sexual harassment to other people or government agencies. The bill has been approved in two Assembly committees and is moving forward in that house; so far there is no action in the California State Senate.
As explained in more detail in an article in the Los Angeles Daily News, Should California workers be able to sue their bossess? #MeToo says “Yes”! , some members of the Assembly believe that if the bill became law, it would be preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA). A series of United States Supreme Court decisions, including AT&T Mobility v. Concepción, 131 S. Ct. 1740 (2011), and American Express v. Italian Colors, 133 S. Ct. 2304 (2013), have held that mandatory arbitration agreements and waivers of class actions are enforceable and that the FAA preempts state laws that interfere with arbitration agreements. However, California labor leaders believe the bill has been written carefully enough to survive any preemption challenge.
A copy of the bill can be found here.