Wednesday, October 30, 2019

California's Arbitration Ban

This month, a California bill prohibiting workplace arbitration was signed into law. Effective January 1, 2020, the new law criminalizes the use of mandatory arbitration agreements by making such a practice a misdemeanor offense. It prevents allegations of discrimination, harassment, and retaliation arising under that state’s Fair Employment and Housing Act from being subject to mandatory arbitration. This action sets up a direct conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and clear federal policy favoring arbitration. Challenges to constitutionality of this and other states' laws of this nature are coming. In recent terms, the U.S. Supreme Court reminded states of the predominance of federal policy regarding arbitration, striking down efforts to undermine the use of arbitration. States will likely argue that an arbitration agreement covering such claims is effectively a contract that is void as a matter of public policy. It will be argued such provisions fall within the FAA’s savings language, which preserves traditional state law defenses to arbitration agreements arising out of contract formation. At least one attorney commentator recognizes the problem with this argument-- that the underlying state policy established by the statute appears to directly conflict with the FAA’s underlying purposes, making the policy itself unconstitutional. As such, an unconstitutional policy should not void a contract whose terms are consistent with federal policy regarding dispute resolution. See more here-- and

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

ADR Section Mentoring Academy

Take your mediation practice to the next level with the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Section of The Florida Bar's inaugural Mentoring Academy later this month. Some of the state’s most experienced mediators, including some with whom I serve on the ADR Section Executive Council, will conduct this advanced-level Continuing Mediator Education (CME) and Continuing Legal Education (CLE) workshop. You will be coached on mediation strategies and receive instructive feedback on techniques. Also, increase your statewide network with a reception following the Friday evening panel discussion. Saturday’s sessions include lunch. This first-ever Mentoring Academy will be held October 25 – 26 at the University of South Florida’s Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation (CAMLS) in downtown Tampa. The Florida Bar course is approved for 10 CLE/CME, 1 Ethics CLE/CME and 9 Professionalism CLE credits. The $425 tuition includes an annual membership in The Florida Bar ADR Section and those that are already section members can register for only $390. The Florida Bar ADR Section developed the Mentoring Academy in part because mediators have ethical obligations to advance the mediation profession. We are providing an opportunity for succeeding generations of mediators to have the benefit of experienced instruction from more seasoned mediators. Meaningful interaction between the mediator participants and workshop instructors is a key element of the academy. Don't miss out! Learn more here--