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Are PAGA Claims Manageable?

If you are and employer and not familiar with California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) and/or have never received a PAGA notice, consider yourself lucky. For those who are not aware, PAGA allows a single employee to file a lawsuit on behalf of all employees, without having to go through the “class” mechanism of sending out notices to the other employees and/or giving those other employees the option to opt out. Meaning, this employee can represent the interest of every other employee, without those other employees ever knowing a lawsuit has been filed on their behalf.

However, many employers have argued that PAGA actions should not proceed if the claims are unmanageable. Claims are unmanageable when each claim is individualized – meaning, the claims would be based on fact specific inquiries into to each and every employees’ employment with employer (i.e. they worked off-the-clock or missed a rest break). Previously, decisions regarding manageability of PAGA actions had only been discussed in the federal courts. However, a California Court of Appeal recently issued a decision in Wesson v. Staples the Office Superstore, LLC, holding that “courts have inherent authority to ensure that a PAGA claim will be manageable at trial – including the power to strike the claim, if necessary.”

This is a huge development for employers and will impact many employers’ strategies moving forward. Chauvel & Glatt will continue to monitor any new developments related to PAGA cases and how it can impact your business. In the meantime, it is never too late to make sure you are operating California Labor Law Compliant to ensure you avoid a PAGA Notice/Compliant all together. If you do get a PAGA Notice, do not ignore it.  There are ways to minimize risk against PAGA actions if you address the issues promptly. For more information on PAGA cases, to learn more about Wesson and how it might help you defend against a PAGA Compliant, please contact the Employment Lawyers at Chauvel & Glatt.

The material in this article, provided by Chauvel & Glatt, is designed to provide informative and current information as of the date of the post. It should not be considered, nor is it intended to constitute, legal advice or promise similar outcomes.  For information on your particular circumstances, please contact Chauvel & Glatt at 650-573-9500. Photo Credit 123rf.com.


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