AB-51 Employment discrimination: enforcement. Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash

Photo by Drew Beamer on Unsplash.

AB 51, a new bill proposed by Assembly Member Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego), aims to ban arbitration agreements and settlement agreements of labor and employment claims as a condition for work. Two previous and very similar bills, AB 3080 and AB 465, were vetoed in previous years. California Chamber of Commerce views the bill as a “job killer.”

The bill was heard on March 6 by the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, and passed with a vote of 5-1. Those voting yes included Bonta, Carrillo, Gonzalez, Kalra (chair), Luz and Rivas. Flora was the sole “no” vote.

The bill is opposed by the California Chamber of Commerce due to the following reasons:

It: “(1) essentially prohibits arbitration of labor and employment claims as a condition of employment and is likely preempted by federal law; 

(2) interferes with and prohibits settlement agreements for labor and employment claims; 

(3) exposes employers to criminal liability regarding arbitration agreements; and, 

(4) adds another private right of action onto employers under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).” 

The Chamber states that AB 51 “will create more litigation, significant delays in the resolution of disputes, and higher costs for employers and employees.” 

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