There are 5 things employers must know about dealing with PAGA:
1. What is PAGA?
Private Attorneys General Act, also known as PAGA, and applies to all employers. PAGA allows employees to bring private lawsuits against employers for alleged violations of the Labor Code on behalf of themselves and other aggravated employees to recover civil penalties for alleged violations of the Labor. This means that other employees that were affected by the same violation are automatically included in the suit, which differs from a class action where a group of employees come together to bring a suit against an employer.
2. What are the biggest PAGA violations?
A PAGA suit may be brought for any violation of the labor code. Most common violations include failure to provide half-hour lunch breaks for non-exempt employees, failure to provide regular breaks, improper overtime calculations, paying below minimum wage, improperly calculated bonuses, non-complying wage statements.
3. How are violations calculated?
If the Labor Code section does not specify the penalty for the violation, according to Labor Code § 2699(f)(2) a single penalty is equal to $100 for each employee per pay period for the initial violation, and $200 for each employee per pay period for each subsequent violation. Additionally, successful employee’s will be awarded attorney’s fees and costs.
4. What preventative measures can you as an employer take?
Although PAGA may seem to be harsh and restrictive on employers, it still allows for some flexibility. Employers are given notice of actions filed. For less sever offenses, employers are given 30 days to cure the offense. When dealing with PAGA staying informed and current on all aspects of your business is the best counter method such as proper wages, breaks, final checks, paystubs etc… will allow you to run your business with ease.
Unlike Class Action claims, PAGA claims are not waivable, because they are qui tam suits. Additionally, PAGA claims are not subject to arbitration agreements for the same reason.
by Jasmine Perez