Changes to the state’s Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) are part of the recently signed budget and accompanying trailer bills.
The Labor Code PAGA authorizes aggrieved employees to file lawsuits to recover civil penalties on behalf of themselves, other employees, and the State of California for Labor Code violations.
SB 836 (Committee on Budget and Fiscal Review), which went into effect on June 27, made important changes in PAGA requirements. Except as otherwise noted, these requirements apply prospectively to all pending PAGA cases, as well as new filings.
• All new PAGA claim notices must be filed online, with a copy sent by certified mail to the employer.
• All employer cure notices or other responses to a PAGA claim must be filed online, with a copy sent by certified mail to the aggrieved employee or aggrieved employee’s representative.
• A filing fee of $75 is required for a new PAGA claim notice and any initial employer response [cure or other response] to a new PAGA claim notice. The filing fee may be waived if the party on whose behalf the notice or response is filed lacks the funds to pursue a lawsuit.
• The time for the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (LWDA) to review a notice under Labor Code Section 2699.3(a) has been extended from 30 days to 60 days.
• When filing a new PAGA lawsuit in court, a filed-stamped copy of the complaint must be provided to LWDA. (Applies only to cases in which the initial PAGA claim notice was filed on or after July 1, 2016.)
• Any settlement of a PAGA action must be approved by the court, whether or not the settlement includes an award of PAGA penalties.
• A copy of a proposed settlement must be provided to LWDA at the same time that it is submitted to the court.
• A copy of the court’s judgment and any other order that awards or denies PAGA penalties must be provided to LWDA.
• All items that are required to be provided to the LWDA must be submitted online.
Until Online System Set Up
Pending development of an online filing system, required notices and documents should be scanned and transmitted by email to PAGAfilings@dir.ca.gov.
Pending development of an online payment system, filing fees should be paid by check made out to the LWDA and sent by regular mail, accompanied by a cover letter or memo with enough information to identify the notice or response to which it applies.
The Labor and Workforce Development Agency has a new webpage that includes initial information on the changes and will be updated as the program evolves. For more information, please visit this page at http://labor.ca.gov/Private_Attorneys_General_Act.htm.