The California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District recently added clarity to a somewhat puzzling trial court decision that had sent an employment dispute to nonbinding arbitration. See Western Bagel Co. Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County and Jose Calderon, Case No. B305625 California Court of Appeal, Second Appellate Dist. (filed June 24, 2021, certified for publication July 16, 2021). In the case, Jose Calderon filed a putative class action against Western Bagel Company claiming that the company failed to give its employees proper meal and rest breaks. Western Bagel responded by seeking to compel binding arbitration based on an arbitration agreement Calderon signed.
Because Calderon was a Spanish-speaker with only a basic English vocabulary, he was provided with both original English and Spanish versions of the arbitration agreement. And therein lies the rub! While other clauses in the English and Spanish versions of the agreement provide for or “strongly support the conclusion” of binding arbitration, the severability clause in the Spanish version of the agreement stated otherwise. It provided: Continue Reading