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PAGA UPDATE: California’s High Court Rejects US Supreme Court’s PAGA Interpretation

This morning, July 17, 2023, the California Supreme Court has issued its unanimous ruling in Adolph v. Uber Technologies, and it expanded employees’ abilities to file claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA).

Last year, the Supreme Court of the United States held in Viking River Cruises, Inc. v. Moriana that when an employer and employee have a valid arbitration agreement and the employee brings claims under the PAGA, the individual claims of the employee can be compelled into arbitration on an individual basis and the remaining representative actions of the PAGA claims are to be dismissed. In the dissent of that decision, Justice Sotomayor specifically noted that “California courts, in an appropriate case, will have the last word” on interpreting such claims. And today they did in a big blow to employers throughout California.

Today’s ruling by the California Supreme Court reverses SCOTUS stance, holding that “where a plaintiff has brought a PAGA action comprising of individual and non-individual claims, an order compelling arbitration of the individual claims does not strip the plaintiff of standing as an aggrieved employee to litigate claims on behalf of other employees under PAGA.” The Supreme Court’s decision re-opens the floodgates of non-individual claims, where an “aggrieved employee” can pursue claims for others even while arbitrating individual claims. 

WHAT’S NEXT…

While Employers continue to wait and see if there will be any relief in relation to PAGA, in the meantime, Employers should consult with an Employment Attorney to determine whether an arbitration program for your employees is right for your business and to ensure you are operating California Labor Law compliant to minimize your PAGA risk. Contact Chauvel & Glatt’s Employment Attorneys today.

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.

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