Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)
The Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) empowers employees who have been wronged to initiate legal actions seeking civil penalties for Labor Code violations. These lawsuits can be filed on behalf of the aggrieved employees, their fellow workers, and the State of California.
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What is the Private Attorneys General Act?
The PAGA, also known as the Private Attorneys General Act is a California law that gives private individuals the right to file a lawsuit on behalf of themselves and other employees for labor law violations in California.
What created the Private Attorneys General Act?
The PAGA was initially enacted in 2004 and is codified in California Labor Code section 2698.
What does the Private Attorneys General Act allow?
The Act allows employees to file a lawsuit against their employers for any violations to the labor code. For example, violations may include
- Failure to pay minimum wage
- Failure to pay overtime: California law requires that employers pay overtime to non-exempt employees who work more than 8 hours a day or more than 40 hours a week.
- Failure to allow lunch breaks: All employees are required to take a lunch break.
- Failure to allow rest breaks: All employees are required to take a rest break.
- Misclassifying an employee: Sometimes, an employer may misclassify an employee as an independent contractor rather than a non-exempt employee simply because they do not want to pay benefits such as overtime.
- Failure to allow an employee sick leave
- Failure to allow an employee family leave
These are just a few examples of how an employer may violate the California labor code. these are the most common that our attorneys have encountered. In the event that your employer has acted in some way that is not specified above, you may still have a claim. Talk to our experienced legal team today.
To pursue PAGA cases, individuals must adhere to the guidelines outlined in Labor Code Sections 2698 – 2699.5.
What should I do when filing a PAGA claim?
- There are specific requirements that you must have to meet when filing this claim. For example, before filing the claim you must notify a specific Department called the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency. You must go into specifics as to what your employer violated. The agency may then investigate and take action on their own.
- If you feel to notify the agency, you most likely will not be able to file a lawsuit. If the agency decides not to look into the circumstances, then they will encourage the employee to file a lawsuit in Court.
Why was the Private Attorneys General Act created?
The Act was initially created to protect employees from mistreatment by their employers. This act asserts an employee’s right and holds an employer accountable for any violations of the government code.
Can you settle a PAGA claim?
Yes, you can settle a PAGA action, but it must be approved by the court. further, parties have the right to collect penalties from the other party. When both parties settle a claim outside of court, a signed copy of the settlement must be filed with the court. Failure to file a signed copy with the court could result in the settlement not being finalized. There are several different types of requirements that you must have to meet in the event that you do settle. That is why we recommend having an experienced trial attorney on your side to make sure that all the paperwork is done properly and on time.
What are the most common Private Attorneys General Act claims?
The most common claims involve an employer failing to pay an employee the wages that they deserve. It is mostly wage and hour disputes.
Who gets PAGA settlements?
According to the California Chamber of Commerce, a settlement an employee receives from a PAGA lawsuit is around $1,000 – $5,000. But, keep in mind that each circumstance is different from one others, especially because each employee experiences a different situation at work.
How do you calculate PAGA claim compensation?
There is a specific formula used to calculate how much an employee has the right to be compensated. The formula is calculated by multiplying the initial violation penalty with the total number of employees within a year. This number is then added with the second violation penalty multiplied by the number of pay periods within one year.
This formula could get somewhat complicated, that is why you should seek the advice of an experienced attorney.
What should I do during my Private Attorneys General Act attorney consultation?
- Make sure that prior to your consultation you bring in all the necessary paperwork involving your employment. For example, make sure that you bring in your employment contract and any other copies of your employer’s policies.
- If you have evidence of your employer denying wages, such as in an email or in a text, we recommend that you bring in that type of documentation.
What do our Private Attorneys General Act attorneys do?
- Our attorneys will file the lawsuit under the California labor codes provisions. There are specific requirements that you will have to meet when filing such a claim.
- Our attorneys have a strong understanding of California Labor laws to make sure that we represent you and your rights completely. We always work to make sure that no employee is taken advantage of by their employer.
- Our attorneys will represent you in trial in the event that both parties do not end up settling. our trial attorneys have extensive experience in employment law.
- Our top-rated attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means that we only get paid in the event that we settle or win the case with the employer.
How can I file a Private Attorneys General Act claim?
- In order to file a claim, there are specific steps you can take to make sure that you follow through with all your responsibilities. These steps include:
- Collecting evidence: Gather all the different types of evidence that you believe support your claim. For example, gather your pay stubs, employment contracts, and copies of any policies.
- Before filing a claim, notify your employer in writing about the different violations that you believe your employer has violated in the California labor code.
- After you notify your employer, your employer has 33 days to fix the violations or to respond to the written letter.
- If your employer fails to take any actions, or feels to respond to your letter, you must file the claim with the proper California agency.
- The agency will investigate the claims and determine if the employer or employee was responsible.
- In the event that the agency determines that they will not be investigating the claim, you then have a right to file a lawsuit in Court.
What damages could I receive for my Private Attorneys General Act claim?
When a Private Attorneys General Act claim is filed, an employee does not usually receive damages. The court will instead order the employer to pay an amount for the violations of the labor code.
Contact our Private Attorneys General Act Today
Give our experienced attorneys a call today. Many employees do not know about the rights that they may have, and the right to file a lawsuit. In the event that you think your employer has violated a California labor code, give us a call to discuss.
We have been representing employees who have had their rights violated for decades, and understand the difficulty and stress that comes with such an experience.
We are available 24/7 to answer any questions or concerns you may have about your case.
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