Within California, an extensive list of employment-related legal violations may be pursued by individuals acting as “proxies” for the California Attorney General in ensuring safe and fair working conditions. Under this Private Attorneys General Act, or PAGA, the state has set up specific procedures for pursuing these violations, as well as specific penalties to remedy and discouraging these violations.
For many years now in California, however, employers have included arbitration agreements as conditions for employment which have been held to effectively preclude employees from bringing class action lawsuits to address employment-related workplace violations. Though California case law had initially held to the contrary, Federal Courts have since held that these arbitration clauses are enforceable against employees as preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) and can preclude employees from bringing a Private Attorneys General Act lawsuit.
In 2012, however, the California Supreme Court ruled in the Iskanian case that the FAA could not be applied to prevent Private Attorneys General Act lawsuits as such lawsuits, in the Court’s opinion, were being brought not by individuals per se, but rather by individuals as “proxies” for the Attorney General’s office which simply lacks the funding and resources to pursue these claims.
Now, a company has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Iskanian opinion and hold that PAGA lawsuits are similarly barred by arbitration clauses.
Audet & Partners, LLP is currently investigating potential claims against a wide range of employers for PAGA violations. If you believe you have been treated unfairly in your employment or have had to endure unreasonably uncomfortable or dangerous conditions in your workplace, you are urged to contact a PAGA attorney at Audet & Partners, LLP for a free, confidential case evaluation either by calling (800) 965-1461, or by completing and submitting our confidential inquiry form on the right side of this page.