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The California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday, August 30, that workers in California may bring a class action against their employers for alleged labor code violations, notwithstanding the fact that the workers had signed agreements requiring those disputes to be submitted to arbitration.

In the 4-3 ruling, the Justices rules that agreements prohibiting the litigation of cases by employees in a class action undermined employees’ “unwaivable statutory rights” and “pose a serious obstacle to the enforcement of the state’s overtime laws.” Some lawyers opined that the ruling would spark the filing of more class actions on behalf of workers. Others hailed the ruling as simply holding employers accountable for their conduct.

“Corporations are trying to wipe out their employee’s ability to hold them accountable” by barring class actions in wage and hour cases, employment discrimination and sexual harassment cases, said Arthur Bryant, executive director of Washington-based Public Justice, a public interest law firm that file an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiff. Thursday’s ruling, he said, “essentially preserves employment class actions in California.”

For more information on this subject matter, please refer to the section on Workers Compensation.

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