Governor Brown Signs Law Amending the Private Attorneys General Act
On June 27, 2016, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill No. 836. The law amends the Private Attorneys General Act (“PAGA”). PAGA permits employees to sue their employers for Labor Code violations on behalf of themselves and other employees as representatives to California Labor and Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”).
Senate Bill No. 836 makes several technical changes to existing law, but does not offer any significant reprieve to employers from the recent proliferation of lawsuits alleging minor technical violations. The amendments took effect on July 1, 2016.
The following is a list of some of the changes to existing law:
- The LWDA has 60 days to review PAGA notices. The previous law provided 30 days to review.
- Employers, who are permitted to cure certain deficiencies alleged in the PAGA notice, must now submit cure notices online.
- A plaintiff cannot commence a civil action until 65 days after sending notice of claimed violations to the LWDA. Perhaps this is the most meaningful change to existing law, since the previous version permitted filing after 33 days leaving employers little time to evaluate existence of alleged violations.
- A filing fee of $75 is required for a new PAGA claim notice and any initial employer response to the notice.
- A proposed PAGA settlement must now be provided to the LWDA at the same time as it is submitted to a court for approval.
- The LWDA must be provided with any court order that approves or denies a settlement of PAGA claims.
A more comprehensive summary of changes to the PAGA as a result of Senate Bill No. 836 may be found on LWDA’s website at: http://labor.ca.gov/Private_Attorneys_General_Act.htm.
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