Last month, the California Court of Appeal determined that a collective bargaining agreement can prevent construction workers from filing a PAGA action under certain conditions. First, the CBA must cover wages, hours, and working conditions within its scope. Second, the CBA must include a grievance and arbitration procedure to redress alleged Labor Code violations. Third, and finally, the CBA must permit the arbitrator to award all remedies available under the Labor Code.
In the recently decided Oswald case, the appellate Court held that journeyman pipefitter Oswald could not bring an action for civil penalties under PAGA for Labor Code violations relating to withheld meal and rest periods, inaccurate wage statements, failure to timely pay wages, and refusal to reimburse expenses.
The decision was based upon a memorandum of understanding regarding waiver and arbitration of PAGA and class claims which replaced a CBA arbitration clause. The Court required the parties to submit the dispute to arbitration in accordance with the CBA and the memorandum of understanding.