California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA
A Southern California or San Diego Employer is usually hit with a PAGA claim when another individual or class action lawsuit is brought against your company. Basically, the California Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA attempts to recruit your own employees to serve as internal attorneys general to help enforce California’s extensive labor code.
A single employee may contact plaintiff’s counsel seeking advice on what they perceive to be their own individual case. The plaintiff’s attorneys then seek to enlarge the issue and file a PAGA action in addition to their own lawsuit(s). The PAGA claim allows your employees to serve (in effect) as state regulators to recover substantial civil penalties, and to be paid 25% of all which is recovered from you, the employer, as a result of the action.
PAGA Applies to all Current and Former Employees
Many California employers are shocked to learn financial exposure under PAGA extends to former employees as well. Section 2699( c ) provides a source of recovery for any “aggrieved employee,” past or present, “against whom one or more of the alleged violations was committed.”
PAGA Claims by Discontented Employees
You, as a California employer, are often at greatest risk when a past or present employee who is upset for any reason seeks the advice of an attorney. While they are sitting in the attorney’s office complaining about their own issues, the plaintiff’s attorney carefully guides the conversation to probe for opportunities under PAGA.
The most shocking news for many California and San Diego employers is the fact that the discontented employee now serves as a “proxy” or “agent” of California’s agencies and is therefore able to enforce any violation of California’s broad labor codes, even if they themselves were not a victim of the violation. What stops a present or past employee who has an axe to grind against you or your company from filing a PAGA action alleging a slew of California labor code violations?
Proven Strategies to Reduce PAGA Action Risk for San Diego Employers
The Watkins Firm has provided sound advice, counsel and legal representation for Southern California and San Diego employers for decades. Our attorneys can help your company to minimize the risks associated with a PAGA claim and protect against future inadvertent violations.
In many cases, the employees themselves are responsible for violating the clearly established rules and practices you’ve established. They “simply didn’t get their break” or they “worked through lunch since we were so busy.” As a California employer you must clearly establish policies and procedures which enforce California labor laws while providing the framework for identifying and enforcing internal policies and procedures and employee handbooks.
Learn more about how you can reduce your risk of a PAGA claim as a Southern California or San Diego employer and contact the Watkins Firm or call 858-535-1511 for a free consultation or to schedule an appointment today. PAGA claims add up quickly and it is important to act immediately to put a stop to any exposure and winding down present exposure under the statute of limitations.
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.