Written by Gordon Webster, Jr.
The California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act — a ray of hope from the ongoing barrage of frivolous lawsuits against employers — is advancing toward the November ballot.
The campaign has gathered more than 60% of the signatures needed to place the PAGA reform initiative on the November ballot.
For business owners, the Personal Attorneys General Act (PAGA) has meant billions of dollars in penalties since it was enacted in 2004. PAGA allows employees to sue for any Labor Code violation as if they were the state (hence the name Personal Attorneys General).
PAGA lawsuits have increased more than 1,000% since the law took effect in 2004, with attorneys filing the lawsuits pocketing most of the penalties. The California Fair Pay and Employer Accountability Act would enact alternative enforcement mechanisms for labor issues, ensure 100% of penalties go to worker, speed up recovery wages and penalties and double penalties where employers willfully violate the law.
In a twist from the usual “screw employers” attitude that colors so much legislation in Sacramento these days, the measure would also create a consultation unit an employer can contact about interpreting labor laws.
This one is a no-brainer for the employees with legitimate claims. Just look at this review of PAGA cases compared to cases decided by the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA):
PAGA Court Case
— Average Award Paid by Employer: $1.11 million
— Award Award Received by Employees: $1,256
— Average Case Duration: 526 days
— Average Award Paid by Employer: $789,936
— Award Award Received by Employees: $5,941
— Average Case Duration: 343 days