“Honest Belief” Defense Remains Unresolved In California

The California Supreme Court refused to decide whether the “honest belief” defense to discrimination and retaliation claims is valid under California law.  Instead, in Richey v. Autonation, Inc., the Court punted on the decision and found that an arbitrator’s underlying decision was based on “overwhelming” evidence of an employee’s misconduct and that the arbitrator’s application of the “honest belief” defense was “not prejudicial,” if error at all.  While underscoring the importance of well-crafted arbitration agreements, the decision leaves the lower courts free to reach inconsistent holdings on that important issue. Continue reading

No Waiver Of PAGA Representative Claims (Yet)

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in connection with the California Supreme Court’s decision in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angleles, LLC.  Had the Court heard the Iskanian case, it was expected to find that representative claims under California’s Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) could be waived by an arbitration agreement, as has been approved with class action claims.  The U.S. Supreme Court, however, decided that it would not hear the dispute, leaving the holding in Iskanian to be good law, at least for now. Continue reading