A Win for Employers: Ninth Circuit Holds that California AB 51 Prohibiting Mandatory Arbitration is Preempted by The Federal Arbitration Act

As of February 15, 2023, employers in California may once again require mandatory arbitration as the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) preempts Assembly Bill 51 (AB 51), a law that prohibited “forced arbitration” as a condition of employment.

After years of litigation, the Ninth Circuit’s ruling upholds a federal district court’s preliminary injunction that temporarily blocked California from enforcing AB 51 and all but guarantees that AB 51 will never be enforceable. While California could seek review from the Ninth Circuit (en banc) or the Supreme Court of the United States, given the Supreme Court’s line of cases upholding FAA preemption, we think this decision will stand…

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