CalChamber Identifies AB 51 as Job Killer; Full List to Come

The California Chamber of Commerce today announced its first identified job killer of 2019 — AB 51 (Gonzalez; D-San Diego). The bill, which is scheduled for hearing on March 6 in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee, would prohibit arbitration of labor and employment claims as a condition of employment. The measure is virtually identical to AB 3080 (Gonzalez) from 2018 which was vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown because he recognized that the measure plainly violated federal law. The measure is also similar to AB 465 (Hernandez) which was vetoed in 2015.

AB 51 (Gonzalez) is a job killer due to the significant increased costs employers will face as a result of more litigation and the expense of delayed dispute resolutions.  In addition, it is well understood that if signed into law, the proposal would be preempted by federal law. Both the California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court have specifically held that state legislation trying to ban arbitration agreements is preempted by federal law.  In fact, AB 51’s limitation on the ability to form an arbitration agreement as a condition of employment conflicts with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan’s opinion in Kindred Nursing Centers Ltd. Partnership v. Clark, that federal law protects and preempts state law regarding both the formation of arbitration agreements as well as the enforcement of arbitration agreements

AB 51 also proposes to add a new private right of action under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) and exposes employers to criminal liability for any violation.

Committee Hearing

AB 51 will be heard in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee on Wednesday, March 6.

2019 Job Killers

Track the current status of the job killer bills on or follow @CalChamber and @CAJobKillers on Twitter.

Staff Contact: Jennifer Barrera

Jennifer Barrera
Jennifer Barrera took over as president and chief executive officer of the California Chamber of Commerce on October 1, 2021. Previously, she oversaw the development and implementation of policy and strategy as executive vice president and represented the CalChamber on legal reform issues. She led CalChamber advocacy on labor and employment and taxation from September 2010 through the end of 2017. As senior policy advocate in 2017, she worked with the executive vice president in developing policy strategy. Before joining the CalChamber, she worked at a statewide law firm that specializes in labor/employment defense. Barrera earned a B.A. in English from California State University, Bakersfield, and a J.D. with high honors from California Western School of Law. See full bio.