What Is PAGA?
California employees suffering a Labor Code violation have an option for legal recourse in Private Attorney General Act of 2004 (PAGA), a state law that gives employees the authority to file lawsuits against employers for Labor Code violations and assess civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other “aggrieved employees” and the State of California. Employers who fail to adhere to state wage and hour laws should face the consequences of these violations, and PAGA authorizes California employees to make sure this happens. If your employer has violated one or more provisions of the California Labor Code, contact Davtyan Law Firm as soon as possible. With our California PAGA claim lawyer on your side, you can protect your legal rights and pursue the civil penalties you deserve for your employer’s Labor Code violations.
What is PAGA?
Established in 2004, PAGA, or the Private Attorneys General Act, gave employees in California the right to file a private lawsuit against their employer for any violation of the California Labor Code, not just serious violations or those involving worker health and safety.
What Does PAGA Do?
Before this law, only the State Labor Commissioner through the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE) could bring civil actions in court to enforce provisions of the Labor Code, but under PAGA, aggrieved employees can act as so-called Private Attorneys General and recover civil penalties for each individual violation, on behalf of themselves, other employees and the state of California. Unlike a traditional Labor Code violation or Unfair Business Practices claim, PAGA claims are often filed as part of a “class action” and in conjunction with private claims for damages, but these claims do not have to be certified as a class action.
Recovering Penalties Under PAGA
California labor laws establish considerable protections for employees and any employee who suffers a wage and hour law violation has the right to pursue legal action and recover penalties under PAGA. California employees who file lawsuits for Labor Code violations under PAGA receive a 25% share of any civil penalties recovered and the remaining 75% share goes to the state. If the underlying Labor Code already provides for a civil penalty, the employee can seek to collect that penalty. If the Labor Code does not provide for a civil penalty, the PAGA penalty is equal to $100 per employee, per pay period for the initial violation and $200 per employee, per pay period for each subsequent violation. In addition to civil penalties for Labor Code violations, employees can also recover attorneys’ fees and court costs in PAGA claims.
Additionally, while employers previously argued that employees could only bring PAGA claims for Labor Code violations the employee actually suffered, as of 2018 the law provides that, even in cases where an employee suffers only a single wage and hour law violation, the employee may bring a representative action against the employer to recover penalties for all violations any other employees suffered during the same period.
Contact Our PAGA Claim Attorney in California
There are many provisions in the California Labor Code and under PAGA, California employees have the right to file suit against employers whose businesses are not in compliance with the Labor Code. PAGA has resulted in a flood of litigation against California businesses in violation of Labor Code provisions, and employers across the state are encouraged to take proactive steps to ensure they are in complete compliance with state wage and hour laws. For more information about filing a PAGA claim for a Labor Code violation in California, contact our experienced overtime wage and wage employment attorney at Davtyan Law Firm today.