California: New PAGA Interpretations Continue to Increase Employer Exposure

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All Employers with CA Employees

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May 22 and 23, 2018

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Two recent California cases have greatly expanded the ability for employees to sue employers under the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”).  A favorite of plaintiffs’ attorneys, PAGA allows an employee to bring a suit against an employer on behalf of other aggrieved employees, potentially recovering significant penalties as well as attorneys’ fees.  PAGA suits can and have been used against employers for even minor technical violations, such as a business listing an abbreviated name rather than the legal name of the organization on pay stubs.

What have the new cases done to reshape the PAGA landscape?

  • In Huff v. Securitas Security Services USA, Inc., the state court of appeal stated that a PAGA plaintiff who suffers a single Labor Code violation may sue an employer as a representative for all other Labor Code violations suffered by other employees, even if the plaintiff did not suffer the injury themselves.
  • In Raines v. Coastal Pacific Food Distributors, the state court of appeal stated that a PAGA plaintiff need not prove injury or a knowing/intentional violation of the Labor Code in order to recover penalties for the violation.

While employers have argued against the growing unfairness of PAGA claims, California courts have asserted that reforms to PAGA must be done through the legislature, rather than the courts.  Until the legislature successfully passes a bill reforming PAGA, employers must continue to be on their toes in complying with the Labor Code and deterring potential PAGA claims.

Action Items

  1. Have an HR assessment conducted to review potential policies, procedures, and practices that may be susceptible to PAGA claims. Contact sales@managease.com to inquire about our HR assessment services.
  2. Subscribers can call our HR On-Call Hotline at (888) 378-2456 for further assistance.

Disclaimer: This document is designed to provide general information and guidance concerning employment-related issues. It is presented with the understanding that ManagEase is not engaged in rendering any legal opinions. If a legal opinion is needed, please contact the services of your own legal adviser.

© 2018 ManagEase

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