What Do Employers Need To Know About PAGA?
California PAGA or the Private Attorneys General Act gives “aggrieved” workers the ability to represent themselves in lawsuits against employers for violating labor laws. In defense of themselves and fellow employees, these workers may file lawsuits and serve as state regulators to reclaim civil penalties.
In this article, we talk about the PAGA claim, how to file it, its notice and cure period, and how employers can protect their own interests. Continue reading to learn all about it.
Introduction To California PAGA Claims
The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has recently made headlines due to a state proposal that would seek to alter it and a case that the Supreme Court has taken up involving PAGA and arbitrations. The lodging of PAGA claims is still on the upswing, with over 6,000 PAGA letters submitted in 2021, despite the latest events giving employers optimism that some constraints will be put on PAGA applications.
While class action lawsuits and PAGA claims are frequently linked, many of the testing standards and other restrictions that apply to class actions do not apply to PAGA claims. On behalf of the state’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency, PAGA gives employees a private action right against the employer to recover civil penalties for breaches of the California Labor Code (LWDA).
Process For Filing A PAGA Lawsuit
A PAGA lawsuit can be registered in various ways:
- The employee’s claim(s) should contain all proof in support of the employer’s alleged offenses against the labor code or pay order.
- The employee must submit a written notification of the claim(s) to both the company and California’s Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) via registered mail and digital filing, respectively.
- The LWDA must then send the worker notice of its plan to inquire within 65 days after the notice’s postmark date.
- The employee may initiate a PAGA lawsuit to seek compensation for themself and/or their colleagues if the LWDA doesn’t really give such notification within the appropriate period of time.
- The capacity of an employee to bring a PAGA case may be hindered by a failure to comply with procedural standards.
Period of Notice and Cure
Claim letters, replies, and relevant court papers must all be submitted to the LWDA in accordance with PAGA. Notice Papers are delivered in accordance with PAGA, which enables ex-employees to bring state-wide, collective actions in support of them and other employees in similar circumstances.
Some claimed offenses are recoverable. A defendant employer must fix these alleged Labor Code violations within 33 days under PAGA starting from the day the notification was postmarked. The claims may be dismissed if the infractions are corrected within the 33-day window. The Plaintiff-Employee may file a case under PAGA if these infractions are not remedied. Businesses need to be aware of receiving the letters and swiftly contact employment lawyers due to the short cure period.
Alternatively, once 65 days pass since the complaint was submitted with the LWDA, a Plaintiff may begin an action under PAGA about other claimed breaches of the Labor Code.
What Employers Can Do to Protect Their Own Interests
Study the policies and practices of the company: Making sure the business has compliant rules may help to reduce claims, but it may also help the business defend itself if claims are made.
Conduct Salary and Time Audits: There are many factors why employers would be reluctant to conduct audits. Nevertheless, given the possibility of class actions like PAGA, employers are obligated to identify issues before a claim is filed.
Verify the accuracy of timekeeping and wage statements: Very few problems might potentially cost the business millions of dollars when summed together with remaining “aggrieved employees”.
To summarize, PAGA claims may be a quick means to hold negligent employers accountable, but there are specific warnings and other formal requirements that must be met before an employee can initiate a lawsuit.