The California Supreme Court upholds the arbitration provision in an employment contract against attack on the ground of unconscionability. Though the clause incorporated the AAA arbitration rules without attaching a copy of them, this did not increase the procedural unconscionability of the adhesion contract because the employee did not attack the clause on the ground of any purported unconscionable term in the AAA rules. Even though an employer is more likely than an employee to seek injunctive relief before arbitration, the portion of the clause reserving the parties’ right to seek provisional relief from the court pending arbitration did no more than restate rights protected by CCP 1281.8 and so was not substantively unconscionable. (Trivedi v. Curexo Technology Corp. (2010) 189 Cal.App.4th 387, which held otherwise is criticized but not expressly disapproved.) The clause subjected all claims of either party to arbitration. The fact that it then provided a non-exclusive list (including but not limited to) of employee claims did not make the clause one-sided or unconscionable, but rather served to notify employees of the types of claims they would have to arbitrate. The clause was also not rendered unconscionable by a provision that all necessary steps would be taken in arbitration to protect the employer’s trade secrets. That one-sided provision was justified by a legitimate business need.
California Supreme Court (Kruger, J.); March 28, 2016; 2016 WL 1176599