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Garcia v. Expert Staffing West (CA2/6 B307371 12/29/21) Arbitration between Applicants and Former Employers 

By December 29, 2021December 30th, 2021Arbitration, Class Actions, Employment Law, Labor Code

Cool-Pak LLCRespondent Roseana Garcia had an employment agreement with her former employers, appellants Essential Seasons and Cool-Pak, LLC.  The agreement did not include an arbitration clause.  After that employment ended, Garcia applied for work with appellant Expert Staffing West.  As a part of her application for employment with Expert Staffing West, Garcia agreed to submit all disputes between them to arbitration.  Her application was rejected.

Garcia later joined an existing class action for wage and hour violations against all three appellants.  She based her claims on her prior employment by Essential Seasons and Cool-Pak.  The issue presented here is whether the arbitration agreement between Garcia and Expert Staffing West applies to disputes arising between Garcia and her former employers.  We conclude that the arbitration clause between a job applicant and her prospective employer does not apply to disputes between the applicant and her former employers based on the existence of a business relationship between the prospective employer and the applicant’s past employers.

Expert Staffing West and its Chief Executive Officer Edward Bright, Essential Seasons and its owner/managing partner Kathleen Winters,  and Cool-Pak, LLC (collectively “Appellants”) appeal from the trial court’s orders denying their motion to compel Garcia to arbitrate her individual claims and denying their motions to dismiss her class claims and stay the action.  Essential Seasons and Cool-Pak contend the trial court erred when it determined that the arbitration agreement between Garcia and Expert Staffing West did not apply to Garcia’s claims against them.  We disagree and affirm.