A blog we published here on May 28, 2020, correctly noted that California’s workers-compensation laws may immunize employers from most civil lawsuits alleging that employees became infected with the coronavirus on the job.  That blog also correctly emphasized that other types of lawsuits may spread from lax pandemic protocols.  This week the California Court of Appeal issued a unanimous three-judge decision outlining a potential path for workers and their families to get around workers-compensation immunity and maintain a possible new strain of civil actions.
Continue Reading The Spread of Employee Lawsuits Related to COVID-19 May Be Widening, But Treatments and Cures May Exist

UPDATE: Fifth Circuit blocks enforcement of the federal OSHA COVID-19 vaccine/testing mandate.
On November 6, 2021, a panel of the fifth circuit issued a stay against the enforcement of OSHA‘s new emergency temporary standards mandating large employers to require vaccination or testing of their workforce. The court found that there are grave statutory and constitutional issues related to the mandatory emergency temporary standards that need to be addressed.


Continue Reading 5th Circuit Temporarily Blocks OSHA’s New COVID-19 Standards Mandating Employers With 100 or More Employees to Require Vaccination or Regular Testing

What is PAGA?

California’s labor law enforcement agencies, including the Labor and Workforce Development Agency (“LWDA”) also known as the “Labor Board” has the authority to investigate whether employers violate the California Labor Code, and assess and collect civil penalties for any such violations.  However, due to purported budget cuts and cited lack of state resources to prosecute such actions, in 2004, the Legislature enacted the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq., to authorize an employee to bring an action for civil penalties on behalf of the state against his or her employer for Labor Code violations committed against the employee and fellow employees, with 75% of the proceeds of that litigation going to the state, and 25% to the employees.  A PAGA plaintiff therefore steps into the shoes of an attorney general to prosecute alleged Labor Code violations for civil penalties, on behalf of the state.  PAGA penalties can be astronomical.  Pursuant to PAGA, default civil penalties are $100 “for each aggrieved employee per pay period for the initial violation,” and $200 per aggrieved employer, per pay period, per “each subsequent violation.”
Continue Reading California Court of Appeal Holds That Trial Courts Have Authority to Strike PAGA Claims For Being Unmanageable