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    In The News – California PAGA Reforms

    Yesterday, Governor Gavin Newsom, business and labor groups, and legislators in Sacramento agreed on reforms to the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) in order to stall an election face-off. Once the legislation reflecting this agreement is passed and signed into law by the Governor, proponents of the PAGA ballot initiative eligible for the November election will withdraw the initiative.  The devil will be in the details, and a close look at the impending bill will determine the impact on future litigation.

    PAGA authorizes an aggrieved employee to file a lawsuit to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations with a one-year time limit for claims.

    The PAGA reform legislation will propose:

    1. Reform Penalty Structure
    • Capping penalties on employers who quickly take steps to fix policies and practices, and make workers whole, after receiving a PAGA notice, as well as on employers that act responsibly to take steps proactively to comply with the Labor Code before even receiving a PAGA notice.
    • Creates new, higher penalties on employers who act maliciously, fraudulently or oppressively in violating labor laws.
    • Ensures that the penalty money received by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) is increased from 25% to 35%.
    1. Expands which Labor Code sections can be cured to reduce the need for litigation and make employees whole quickly.
    2. Protects small employers by providing a more robust right to cure process through the LWDA to reduce litigation and costs.
    3. Creates a statute that permits courts to limit the scope of claims presented at trial to ensure cases can be managed effectively.
    4. Allows courts to provide injunctive relief to compel businesses to implement changes in the workplace to remedy labor law violations.
    5. Requires the employee/plaintiff to personally experience the alleged violations brought in a claim.
    6. Gives the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) the ability to expedite hiring and fill vacancies to ensure effective and timely enforcement of employee labor claims.




    Blog Author Image
    JoLynn M. Scharrer