Employees are entitled to seek various remedies and damages, including front pay, back pay, lost benefits, compensatory, and punitive damages for legal workplace violations committed by their employers. Among other laws, the California Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 or PAGA (“PAGA”) protects employees’ wage and hour rights and helps employees enforce the Labor Code in the workplace. PAGA allows aggrieved employees to bring an enforcement action on behalf of themselves and other current or former employees in a representative capacity. PAGA is truly unique to the State of California as this law essentially permits aggrieved employees who are private citizens to step into the shoes of the State Labor Commissioner to enforce California’s wage and hour laws and recover civil penalties for violation of these laws. It is important to know that unlike other employment claims, PAGA claims cannot be waived in an arbitration agreement and must be resolved through the court system. In addition, PAGA claims are subject to a one-year statute of limitations. To successfully pursue a PAGA claim, a PAGA plaintiff must send a pre-filing notice to the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”) prior to the expiration of the one-year limitations period. This notice must have specific facts and information regarding the claim and must also be sent to the employer. It is important for employees to be aware that employers cannot retaliate against them for filing a PAGA action.
The PAGA and the Labor Code can be complicated and difficult to understand which is why it is important to have help from an experienced attorney. If you think you may have a PAGA claim, do not wait to speak to an attorney as time is of the essence. Contact Proxy Law Firm so our attorneys can discuss the steps that you need to take in order to successfully pursue a PAGA action.