Following the U.S. Supreme Court decision of May 21, 2018 in Epic Systems Corporation v. Lewis (read blog here) that collective action waiver e.P.A. in mandatory arbitration agreements does not violate the National Labor Relations Act, more employers can now use arbitration agreements with their employees. For those considering arbitration agreements and agreements already in effect, the Decision of July 3, 2018 in Juarez v. Wash Depot Holdings by the California Court of Appeal is important. In a recent decision by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, Oumar Dieng v. College Park Hyundai, Civil Action No. DKC 2009-0068 (July 9, 2009) addressed a number of issues related to the applicability of arbitration agreements, including whether the agreements were applicable to employees with limited English language skills. Unfortunately, the Court`s opinion sheds little light on the issue because the court found, without explanation, that English is not the complainants` first language, but that „all complainants are perfectly capable of speaking, reading and writing in English.“ The lack of knowledge of English was made in the argument of inadmissibility of the procedure. The complainants argued that because English was not their first language, they needed time to consult with counsel before executing the arbitration agreement. Similarly, the applicants argued that the defendant had not explained how the arbitration worked or that its rights were affected by the agreement. The court rejected these arguments and stated: „In its simplest terms, the complainants argue that they should not be required to enter into an agreement they have signed, but that they do not have the time or take the time to read and understand.“ The court indicated that the arbitration was on the second page of a two-page document, and was written in bold, emphasized and capitalized.
Given the importance of arbitration and the Court`s view that, although English is not the applicants` mother tongue, all are able to read and understand English, the Tribunal is not convinced of the applicants` arguments. For several years, employers have been concerned about cost and management problems caused by work-related rights and litigation.