California lawmakers have noticed that there are not nearly enough investigators and lawyers to follow all of the violations found in workplace laws. These including minimum wage and overtime. Hence comes in the Private Attorneys General Act. This law allows for workers to sue their employers in the name of the state, by seeking penalties which had usually been the business of a state labor agency. In that it would allow them to properly operate. By which way, this Private Attorneys General Act allows for immediate deputization of workers to enforce labor laws, through private lawsuits.
A SoCal Cruiseline did not like this and challenged the PAGA so hard, the United States Supreme Court heard about it. In June, as a result, the court is trying to decide if workers with job contracts are even allowed to sue their employer, much less bring their case to a courtroom.
Companies have always persuaded against unions. Are they going to put a hit on freethinking enterprisers as well?
In Other Words, What Does This Mean?
Yearly, thousands upon thousands of Californians use this act to their advantage. The data shows however, that plenty claims don’t even get close to resulting in civil penalties. This is evident in an analysis found by the agency. This could be for any amount of rationale. Especially if workers and employers settle before hitting trial.
9 out of 10 times there’s a claim, it usually alleges theft of some sort. Therefore the date is connected to a certain trend of American business, sadly.
When the law won? It usually has been for these type of scenarios. (Data like this was brought to the public by two advocacy groups at the Research division of UCLA.):
- In December of 2021, video game publisher Riot Games agreed to a $100 million deal to settle a gender discrimination lawsuit brought in part under the law. The video game maker, which created the popular game League of Legends, will be paying $80 million of the settlement to workers, at least 2,300 of whom are eligible, according to the Washington Post. Under the deal, the company will also increase transparency about pay for job applicants, create 40 full-time positions for qualified applicants who previously worked for the company as contractors, and will have a woman or member of an underrepresented community present on employment panels.
- In 2019, a claim brought by a Safeway cashier under the law resulted in a $12 million settlement as well as seating for some 30,000 cashiers, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
- And in 2017, a group of workers for West Coast Tomato Growers brought several claims under the law, including alleged violations of meal and rest break laws, said Cynthia Rice, an attorney for workers in the case and director of litigation, advocacy, and training for California Rural Legal Assistance, which provides free civil legal services to low income people. The resulting settlement required the company to adopt dozens of new policies including informing workers of heat illness regulations, providing them with equipment sufficient to their jobs, bringing in an ergonomic expert to reduce physical hazards to field and packing shed workers, and more.