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California Lawmakers Attempt to Reform to the Private Attorney General Act

4.16.18

Benjamin Ebbink was quoted in the article “California Legislators Seek to Reform ‘Controversial’ Private General Attorney Act” published in the Northern California Record. In this article, he provides some background on the Act and explains why it is so controversial. “PAGA has been pretty controversial from the employer-community perspective. I think there's a couple of different ways that it is problematic. On the one hand, it establishes some pretty significant penalties for any violation of the labor code, no matter how small. PAGA, in theory, creates a civil penalty based on the number of employees times the number of workweeks they work, and that can be pretty significant if you have a sizable workforce."

Ben explained that one of the main challenges of the Act is that it has a no harm requirement, which leads to employees having a large range of complaints that they can file. “That lends itself to what I would characterize as abusive litigation practices, where you have plaintiff attorneys who find very technical or hypersensitive violations of the labor code and because they can use PAGA, they can calculate huge potential penalty damages against the employer to exert a settlement out of them."

For the full article, Northern California Record.

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