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California Worker Can’t Recover Unpaid Wages Via PAGA: Court

Sept. 12, 2019, 8:23 PM

Workers may seek civil penalties in an action brought under a California law that deputizes employees to sue their employers on the state’s behalf, but that doesn’t include recoveries for underpaid wages, the state Supreme Court ruled.

The California high court partly agreed with Kalethia Lawson, who sued her employer ZB NA in February 2016, saying workers can raise Labor Code Section 558 violations in lawsuits under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. But the court held that the section’s reference to amounts “sufficient to recover underpaid wages” isn’t part of the civil penalties available through PAGA.

“Instead, as ...