Recent California Court of Appeals Decisions Impacting PAGA Defense
February 05, 2024
In a significant development, the California Court of Appeals delivered two pivotal decisions on August 31, 2023, posing new challenges for California employers engaged in defending against lawsuits under the state's Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA). These rulings reshape the landscape for PAGA settlements, emphasizing the need for a robust wage-hour compliance program. As a leading class action and PAGA defense law firm, Kolar & Associates is here to dissect these decisions and provide valuable insights for employers.
The first decision by the California Court of Appeals places restrictions on the preclusive effect of PAGA settlements. This means that settling one PAGA lawsuit may not necessarily shield an employer from similar, subsequent claims. Employers need to be vigilant and proactive in structuring PAGA settlements to guard against duplicative or copycat claims.
The second decision bolsters a PAGA plaintiff's ability to intervene in and object to overlapping PAGA settlements. This empowers PAGA plaintiffs with increased grounds to challenge and narrow settlements, potentially emboldening them to pursue lawsuits even in the presence of preexisting cases on similar issues.
- Key Takeaways for Employers:
- Strategic Defense Counsel: Employers facing PAGA lawsuits should engage defense counsel with expertise in structuring settlements to mitigate the risk of duplicative or copycat claims.
- Stay Informed: Stay alert for further appellate court decisions on these issues, as they are likely to have practical implications for defending and settling PAGA claims.
- Prioritize Wage-Hour Compliance: The best defense against PAGA actions is a robust wage and hour compliance program. Employers should consider regular audits of employee time and payroll records, review and update of wage and hour policies, and comprehensive training for managers on California wage and hour law.
In light of these recent decisions, the landscape of PAGA defense is evolving. Employers must adapt by prioritizing proactive measures to guard against potential challenges. Kolar & Associates, as your trusted class action and PAGA defense lawyer, stands ready to navigate these changes alongside you. By staying informed, engaging strategic defense counsel, and emphasizing wage-hour compliance, employers can strengthen their position in the face of evolving PAGA dynamics.
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