U.S. Supreme Court Limits PAGA
The Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) is a unique statute that provides a critical mechanism for enforcement of fundamental labor law protections guaranteed to all California workers. CRLAF sponsored PAGA in 2003 with the California Labor Federation and it has been the mainstay of much of our labor litigation.
California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA) and the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation, Inc. (CRLAF) have used this statute, on behalf of their farmworker and other low-wage worker clients, to effectively challenge wage theft in the form of minimum wage violations, overtime violations and unlawful charges for tools and equipment; as well as the failure to provide safe and healthy workplaces and violations of other basic labor protections. In doing so, millions of dollars have been recovered and rightfully put in the pockets of workers and the coffers of the state.
The U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision on Viking River Cruises v. Moriana on Wednesday, June 15, 2022 that limits, but does not eliminate, the use of California’s PAGA under circumstances when an arbitration clause is included in the terms of the employment agreement.
While the Supreme Court’s decision in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana is considered a major victory to employers, it is not. “The Court makes clear that the State may deputize individual employees and delegate its authority to assess significant penalties against their law-breaking employers,” explains Cynthia Rice, Director of Litigation, Advocacy and Training with California Rural Legal Assistance.
Read CRLA and CRLAF's joint statement via the Daily Journal.