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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Richey v. AutoNation: Cal. Supremes Grant Review In CFRA Arbitration Matter

In Richey v. AutoNation, Inc. (11/13/12, mod. 12/12/12) (discussed here), the Court of Appeal vacated an arbitration award in favor of an employer in a CFRA action, holding that the arbitrator improperly relied on a defense that the employer held an "honest belief" or "honest suspicion" that the employee had abused his medical leave.

On February 13, 2013, the California Supreme Court granted review.  The issues presented are as follows:

  1. Is an employer's honest belief that an employee was violating company policy or abusing medical leave a complete defense to the employee's claim that the employer violated the Moore-Brown-Roberti Family Rights Act (Gov. Code ?? 12945.1, 12945.2)? 
  2. Was the decision below to vacate the arbitration award in the employer's favor consistent with the limited judicial review of arbitration awards?
The "complete defense" question brings to mind the Court's recent decision in Harris v. City of Santa Monica, but even if you do not practice in this area, the prevalence of arbitration agreements in employment makes this a very important case.  Richey is Case No. S207536, and the Court's web page for it is here

I have added Richey to our Watch List of Pending Cases, and we will present a webinar on it promptly upon the decision being issued.  

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