Times have been tough for both employers and employees in the past few years. As an employer, you may be struggling with trying to keep your business running and retaining good employees.
With things so uncertain, you cannot afford anything that can threaten the success and profitability of your business. A claim from an aggrieved employee under California’s Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”) can cause your business and reputation to suffer significant damage.
What is PAGA?
It is important to understand what PAGA is and what you can do if you are faced with defending yourself against a claim under PAGA. You have legal rights that must be protected and preparing a strong defense with the advice and guidance of a professional is necessary.
PAGA allows private citizens to assume the role of an attorney general and sue the employer for alleged violations of the California Labor Code.
Why was PAGA enacted?
The purpose of PAGA was to address the overwhelming number of labor code violations reported to enforcement agencies. The law was passed since the agencies could not keep up with the high number of violation claims.
Under PAGA, employees can bring claims on behalf of themselves or a class of workers. For employers, one of the biggest disadvantages of PAGA is that it does not require arbitration, which often aids in the resolution of claims.
The PAGA filing process
Your employees cannot file a PAGA claim without first sending a notice about the claim to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) which then review the claim. The employee can only bring their PAGA claim if the LWDA does not respond to the notice within the required time frame or chooses not to pursue it.
Common PAGA claims involve allegations of break and meal violations, unpaid overtime or wage theft. If you lose a PAGA claim, your financial losses could include penalties and attorney fees. Therefore, having a strong defense is important.