May 8, 2021
Ehlert Hicks Wins Appeal Preventing Employer from Enforcing Alleged Arbitration Agreement
Ehlert Hicks and trial lawyers Jaret & Jaret recently succeeded in defending a trial court ruling denying an employer’s petition for arbitration. The plaintiff employee filed a discrimination and defamation complaint against her employer, a skilled nursing facility in Marin County. The employer contended that the plaintiff had agreed to arbitrate her claims when she completed the new-hire onboarding process. The trial court found otherwise. It credited the substantial evidence presented by the plaintiff showing that the employer’s human resources manager had electronically onboarded new employees, including plaintiff, and had signed the employer’s arbitration agreement on their behalf and without their knowledge or consent. The Court of Appeal affirmed, agreeing with the trial court that the employer had failed to authenticate the plaintiff’s electronic signature as her own and that therefore no valid arbitration agreement existed. The case will now be litigated in the trial court.