On Friday, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1506, which is intended to lessen certain types of employer liability under California’s Private Attorneys General Act. PAGA allows private employees to sue to recover penalties that the state labor commissioner could have collected. It’s been a huge headache for employers. In addition to drastically expanding the ways they could be sued, PAGA provides a cause of action that certain courts say is exempt from an employee’s agreement to arbitrate.
One way that employees have used PAGA claims is to sue if their wage statements don’t contain all the required information. Under the new law, an employer would have an opportunity to cure a PAGA violation based on failure to include the beginning and end dates of the pay period and the employer’s proper name and address. Before suing, an employee would have to give notice of the violation and then the employer would have 33 days to cure the violation. To do so, the employer needs to provide corrected wage statements to all employee who received inaccurate information during the three years before the notice.
Is this the answer to employers’ dreams? No. But it’s a tiny step in the right direction. Moreover, you glass-half-full types may be able to take comfort in the fact that the Governor has not yet signed AB 465 (to ban employment arbitration), SB 588 (to expand liability for wage and hour violations to “persons acting on behalf of an employer”), or AB 1017 (to ban employer inquiries about prior compensation). He has until October 11th to act on those bills.