In Avery v. Integrated Healthcare Holdings, Inc., ___ Cal.App.4th ___ (Jun. 27, 2013; pub. ord. Jul. 23, 2013), the Court of Appeal (Fourth Appellate District, Division Three) affirmed an order denying the defendant's petition to compel individual arbitration in a wage and hour class action. The panel determined that the plaintiffs had not agreed to be bound by the arbitration clause, which was contained in an employee handbook.
The opinion concludes with this paragraph:
We emphasize our decision is based solely on the insufficiency of Integrated’s evidence. We do not suggest an arbitration provision in an employee handbook is unenforceable or that employees cannot agree to arbitration by signing an acknowledgment form regarding an employee handbook that contains an arbitration provision. Rather, we affirm the trial court decision because the incomplete and confusing patchwork of documents Integrated submitted prevents us from finding an enforceable arbitration agreement. Because we affirm the trial court’s decision based on the insufficiency of Integrated’s evidence, we do not address the merits of the parties’ contentions concerning the unconscionability of the [arbitration clause].
Slip op. at 25.