SACRAMENTO – Stanislaus County Supervisor Kristin Olsen recently wrote an op-ed published in The Modesto Bee issuing a warning that businesses within her county are spending millions to settle Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) lawsuits, taking away money that would be well-spent elsewhere within the community and making it more difficult to be a business owner in the state.
Her opinion piece follows Gov. Gavin Newsom's signing of Senate Bill 142, which expands the rights of lactating mothers in the workplace. Pundits believe that PAGA lawsuits will increase due to the newly signed bill.
“Several well-known, award-winning businesses in our county have spent millions settling PAGA lawsuits, taking that money away from being able to reinvest in their businesses and employees, not to mention in our community,” wrote Olsen. “It’s time that we, as a community, call upon state leaders to fix issues with PAGA claims.”
The executive director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) says that his organization has heard from several businesses and officials about the burden of PAGA claims.
“As the volume of PAGA lawsuits have increased over the past few years, CALA has heard from numerous nonprofits, small business owners, and local officials about the mounting toll of meritless PAGA claims,” Ken Barnes said. “Most PAGA lawsuits are not tied to any harm, but rather based on extremely minor and technical violations of California's labor code, such as typographical errors on paystubs. Another aspect of PAGA litigation is that they often target California's best employers, those who offer schedule flexibility to their staff.”
Efforts to reformn the law have been stopped in their tracks before gaining any traction.