Updated: Apr 8
The Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA), What It Is, And How It Affects You
California has adopted a variety of powerful regulations that allow wage and hour laws of California to be applied. Unfortunately, in this state, when it comes to filing class-action cases against their employers, there are a lot of employees whose hands are tied because the corporation they work with requires them to sign binding arbitration agreements.
The Private Attorneys General Act, usually referred to as PAGA, is the only means for these workers to seek justice when employers shortchange the salary to which they are entitled. Yet there will be nothing to discourage employers from breaching the wage and hour laws of the state because of this very critical regulation. When it comes to defending their right to equal pay in California, PAGA may be the single most relevant rule for workers.
What exactly is PAGA?
In effect, the Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA requires workers who are exposed to unlawful labor law breaches to act as private attorneys general in order to recover civil damages from their employers who have broken the labor code of the state. As an employee, you have the right to bring a lawsuit against your employer, much as the Attorney General of the state would, if your employer violates California wage and hour laws.
In 2004, at a time when the state of California lacked the money to go after enterprises that violated the labor laws of the state, PAGA was passed. As a reaction to more and more employers brazenly shortchanging their workers and not paying them equal salaries, the state legislature passed PAGA.
An employee who is affected must make a petition with the State of California in order to file a PAGA case. This argument would include descriptions of all the evidence to support the company's violations of the California Labor Code and/or California wage and hour violations. The state of California has 65 days to inform the employee of the state's decision to begin an investigation. If 65 days have passed and no notice is issued by the state of California, the employee will go ahead and file a PAGA complaint, which is a representative case on his or her behalf or on behalf of other aggrieved workers.
Under PAGA, a "aggrieved worker" is the worker in a company who has broken the wage and hour laws of California or the laws set out by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration of the state (OSHA). Usually, on behalf of himself or herself and all aggrieved workers of that company, an employee who has been injured files a PAGA complaint.
It is important to note, however, that PAGA cases vary from class actions, largely because the criminal suits are basically law enforcement actions. Furthermore, class actions must meet other procedural criteria that are not satisfied by PAGA cases. Therefore, a PAGA case is easier to bring than a class-action lawsuit is to bring.
What are the benefits of PAGA?
PAGA safeguards the interests of workers first and foremost. In addition to empowering employers to obtain restitution for their losses incurred by labor abuses, PAGA also provides them with the right to seek justice that may very well lead to positive reforms in the workplace. Almost all PAGA cases filed against companies result in changes in their dishonest and fraudulent activities because they do not want to face these fines again. There are positive developments that help all workers, not just those who work there at the moment, but all future employees as well.
PAGA offers an innovative compliance tool. Therefore, in order to compete, California firms are much less likely to cut corners, and this raises the playing field for all enterprises. Basically, PAGA motivates enterprises to act with caution. Employers who are committed to following the law's labor laws and doing the right thing for their staff are also not left behind.
For the state of California, PAGA also means increased income. It is a fact that for the state of California, PAGA raises millions of dollars in revenue without the state having to deploy its capital. Employment Lawyers in Los Angeles, in these cases, do the job. It is important to mention that the dilemma we have is not the lack of good legislation in California. We have decent rules, but there is no adequate procedure for such laws to be followed. Violations of California employment laws without PAGA would be sky-high.
There are a variety of corporations pushing to get rid of or at least weaken the PAGA. But, it will be a serious mistake, since California employees would lose their essential rights from violations of labor law if PAGA goes down. PAGA is therefore equitable to businesses in the way that, without fines levied, it offers organizations the ability to correct their violations.
PAGA investigates a host of violations of California employment laws, including minimum wage violations, unpaid wages, missing lunch times and rest breaks, misclassification of employees, unreimbursed company costs and miscalculated pay scales. While PAGA critics argue that it is only a means for California Employment Attorneys to make money, they leave out the argument that it raises income for the state and, most critically, for aggrieved employees who have been denied equal pay. PAGA supports all and provides safeguards for disabled employees. PAGA is also one of the reasons why the economy of California has grown and prospered over recent years.
So, the next time you need an unemployment lawyer in Los Angeles, don't hesitate to hire one!
What's The Process For A PAGA Lawsuit?
The object of PAGA is not to recover the worker's damages, but to provide a way of appointing people to administer the labor laws of the state as private attorneys general act. It is necessary to note that the relief offered by this statute is designed to help the general public and not the party or group of people pursuing the suit.