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Rojas v. Glenair, Inc., No. B302402, 2020 WL 4435156, (Cal. Ct. App. Aug. 3, 2020) review den. (Nov. 10, 2020)

The Appellate Case

The case of Rojas v. Glenair, Inc. revolves around an argument over an arbitration agreement in relation to alleged violations of the Labor Code and an unfair competition claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). The employer, Glenair, insisted that the arbitration agreement should be seen as a valid post-dispute agreement because it outlined the Labor Code violations and PAGA claim alleged in the Rojas action.

Glenair further claimed that once the Rojas plaintiff was approved to assert a PAGA claim against Glenair and other employees were informed of this, all other employees, including the respondents, were blocked from making any comparable PAGA claims. In essence, Glenair attempted to argue that the Rojas action and the subsequent action brought by the respondents were the same issue.

Nonetheless, the court disagreed with Glenair’s arguments. It rejected the assertion that the Rojas action and the respondents’ action were the same dispute. It also dismissed the notion that once the Rojas plaintiff was allowed to bring forth a PAGA claim, the arbitration agreement stopped all other employees from initiating PAGA actions, even if they were not appointed as the state’s agents to assert any specific claim. The court concluded that accepting Glenair’s position would badly hinder PAGA’s enforcement mechanism, which permits the state to act through more than one employee regarding a PAGA claim against a specific employer. Thus, the trial court did not make a mistake in denying Glenair’s petition to compel arbitration.

The case originated when Roxane Rojas, the main named plaintiff, initiated a lawsuit against Glenair asserting assumed class claims based on alleged violations of the Labor Code and the unfair competition law, as well as a PAGA claim for civil penalties.

Is It Illegal, or Just Unfair?

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