If you want to enforce your arbitration agreement, make sure that the Spanish and English versions are identical. In Juarez v. Wash Depot Holdings, Inc. (July 2018), the employer’s two versions were not identical and the Spanish version was held to be unenforceable. The English version denied the the employee the right to bring a PAGA claim, but that provision was severable. In the Spanish version, the employer failed to state that the provision was severable. The appellate court agreed with the trial court that the arbitration provision with the PAGA provision violated public policy and the trial court did not abuse its discretion in deciding not to sever the provision and allow the other aspects of the agreement to be enforceable by the employer. The court stated “[a]t best, the difference in the severability clauses in the English-language and Spanish-language versions of the handbook is negligence; at worse, it is deceptive.”
If you have any questions regarding arbitration agreements or any other employment law matter, please call LightGabler at 805-248-7208 or email .