28 day free trial

28 day free trial

28 day free trial

LawMemo - First in Employment Law

Home MyLawMemo About Us   Arbitrators

Celebrating our 23rd year.  Serving employment lawyers,
HR professionals, union representatives, and labor arbitrators.



On the Alert

Arbitration agreement unconscionable.
Offending provisions not severable.

Ramirez v. Charter Communications (California Ct App 02/18/2022)
Sent to Custom Alerts™ subscribers on 02/18/2022

After Angelica Ramirez was fired, she sued claiming violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA).

The parties had an arbitration agreement but the trial court denied a motion to compel arbitration on the ground of unconscionability, and the California Court of Appeal affirmed.

In order for a court to find an agreement to be unconscionable there must be both procedural unconscionability and substantive unconscionability.

          Procedural Unconscionability

Procedural unconscionability has to do with the manner in which the agreement was formed (as opposed to the content of the agreement).

This agreement was procedurally unconscionable. It was undisputed that the arbitration agreement was an adhesion contract because it was a mandatory condition of employment. The court said this established "a minimal degree of procedural unconscionability."

          Substantive Unconscionability

Substantive unconscionability has to do with the content of the agreement (as opposed to the manner in which the agreement was formed).

This agreement was substantively unconscionable for several reasons.

1. It cut the period that would otherwise apply to file a FEHA action in court by as much as two years.

2. One provision granted an award of attorney fees for a prevailing party in moving to compel arbitration. This violated the FEHA which allows attorney fees only if the action was frivolous, unreasonable, or groundless.

3. There was a lack of mutuality. The agreement is "unfairly one-sided because it compels arbitration of the claims more likely to be brought by an employee, the weaker party, but exempts from arbitration the types of claims that are more likely to be brought by an employer, the stronger party."

4. The limits on discovery were unreasonable.


Sometimes a court will carve out the parts of an agreement that are unconscionable and enforce what's remaining. However, the court held that the offending provisions could not be severed due to "the multiple defects we have found that work to Ramirez's distinct disadvantage."

Newest employment law court decisions.
Want them? Get them.
Employment Law Memo gets them to you first.
Custom Alerts™ get them to your exact criteria.
Get four weeks.   Free.   No hassle.   No risk.

28 day free trial



Home  |  MyLawMemo  |  Custom Alerts  |  Newest Cases  |  Key Word Search  
No-obligation trial  |  Arbitrators  |  Law Firms  |  Sample Memos 


Get your 28 day trial now 

Web www.LawMemo.com 
This form will search the LawMemo web site. 
It does not include Key Word Search.