San Diego and Southern California Employer Defense Attorneys
The class action defense attorneys at the Watkins Firm also have experience defending San Diego employers in California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA actions. PAGA allows your employees to act as a “proxy” for the State or a type of internal attorneys general. This allows employees to attempt to bypass the arbitration agreements contained within your employment contracts and pursue civil penalties in a class action as if they were an actual agency of the State of California.
The Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA results in a qui tam or whistleblower type claim. In qui tam claims those who assist a government agency in a case may receive part or all of the recovered financial damages or resulting penalties recovered in by the agency as a result of the prosecution of the case. In a PAGA action the employee(s) step into the shoes of the California government agency and pursue claims for financial damages against your business or entity.
Why Do You Need Immediate Counsel for a PAGA Action?
“It’s only a small infraction which affects one employee. Why should I worry about this?” The statutes of the California Labor Code under which a PAGA claim is based are quite legally complex. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security. A PAGA claim is a major financial threat to any company or organization.
Your financial exposure under a PAGA claim can be quite extensive. The more employees have, the more this exposure is exponentially increased. Your exposure is not limited to the specific allegation contained within the initial PAGA complaint. In a PAGA action, your employee(s) are able to bypass all arbitration provisions or class action defense protections contained within your company’s employment agreements.
Worse yet, a PAGA claim is open to pursue any violation of California’s Labor Code or laws even if violations did not affect the specific employee(s) who brought the action. Your potential exposure is immediate and expansive.
What Types of Violations Can a PAGA Claim Encompass?
Provisions under the California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA encompass all aspects of California’s labor laws, including but not limited to:
- Misclassification of Employees as Independent Contractors
- Wage and Hour Violations
- Health and Safety Violations
- Unfair Competition Actions
Plaintiff’s attorneys will take the complaints of a single discontented employee and use it to identify and recruit a group of present and former employees to join the action. Establishing the group claims in a PAGA action is much easier than the tight restrictions of a normal class action. Plaintiff’s attorneys are attracted by the broad exposure you face as an employer as well as the fast accumulation of financial damages and penalties on a “per employee, per pay period” basis.
PAGA claims can quickly amount to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars for many employers and millions for those with hundreds of employees.
The Good News for San Diego Employers Regarding PAGA
The Watkins Firm can take substantial action to reduce or eliminate your exposure to penalties under any PAGA action. There are administrative law remedies which we can challenge while we respond on behalf of our clients and potentially “cure” the alleged labor code violations.
Our aggressive PAGA defense is designed to reduce exposure and liability in a PAGA action while minimizing resulting plaintiff’s attorney fees. In some cases, PAGA violations are subject to correction pre-trial. We thoroughly investigate each claim and help to organize documentation and substantiation to disprove false claims, limit exposure and defend your legal rights under the law.
In addition, PAGA defense begins with a good offensive strategy. The Watkins Firm works with Southern California and San Diego employers to evaluate existing policies, procedures and underlying documentation and HR documents to identify potential gaps and liabilities. We work to quickly resolve these exposures and to tighten your consistent application and enforcement of all policies and procedures.
Learn More about our San Diego PAGA Defense Attorneys and Services
The keys to PAGA defense are immediate response and a strong and experienced legal team. If you are concerned about a potential PAGA action or have been served with a PAGA action you need the legal skill and decades of experience of the Watkins Firm.
We invite you to review the strong recommendations of our clients and contact us or call 858-535-1511 for a free and substantive consultation to discuss your unique circumstances and all the Watkins Firm can do to help.
Contact a Business Law Or Real Estate Attorney Today
To set up a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our knowledgeable San Diego business lawyers, call us at 858-535-1511 or contact us online.
What does PAGA stand for?
The California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA.
What type of actions are PAGA Cases?
PAGA claims can be whistleblower or Qui Tam cases and/or class action lawsuits.
What is the incentive for the employee to file a PAGA action?
As the person who is stepping into the shoes of the California Attorney General, the employee pursues financial damages against your company and is able to keep a substantial portion of any recovery for themselves.
Can the Watkins Firm defend a San Diego employer against a PAGA action?
Yes. The Watkins Firm can and will take substantial action to defend your interests and reduce or eliminate any exposure under a PAGA action.