Employers:  the California Private Attorney General Act (“PAGA”) is being amended to impose new limits on who can bring a PAGA action and the scope of Labor Code violations that a plaintiff employee can pursue; it will also create caps on penalties for employers who can demonstrate reasonable compliance, reduce penalties for certain types of violations (such as technical defects on wage statements), and provide employers with greater opportunities to cure alleged violations.  However, the law would also for the first time permit injunctive relief in PAGA actions and allocate a greater share of any civil penalties to employees.  The bill states that these reforms would apply to PAGA actions brought on or after June 19, 2024, unless the plaintiff submitted a PAGA notice before June 19.

A PAGA plaintiff will now be required to have personally experienced all of the alleged labor code violations the employee seeks to pursue on behalf of allegedly aggrieved employees in order to have standing to pursue the claims.  Moreover, the amendments expressly provide a one-year limitations period in which a PAGA plaintiff must have personally suffered each violation in order to have the right to sue.  This provision is a welcome change for employers, effectively abrogating the California Supreme Court’s decision in Huff v. Securitas Security USA Services, Inc., which held a representative plaintiff has the ability to bring a PAGA lawsuit on behalf of all other allegedly aggrieved employees for any violation of the labor code as long as the plaintiff suffered at least one labor code violation on which the lawsuit was based.

The amendments also give California courts the authority to limit both the scope of claims and the evidence presented at trial to ensure the claims can be effectively and manageably tried.  Additionally, now nothing shall prevent a court from consolidating PAGA claims alleging overlapping violations against the same employer.  These manageability provisions seem to nullify recent California Supreme Court precedent in Estrada v. Royalty Carpet Mills, Inc., which held that trial courts lack inherent authority to strike PAGA claims on manageability grounds, even if those claims are complex or time intensive.  Granting the trial courts a greater ability to manage PAGA claims in this manner may offer an avenue for employers for limiting the universe of allegedly “aggrieved employees.”

Although employers can be “cautiously” optimistic about these PAGA reforms, it remains to be seen how courts will interpret the new law, and whether the reforms do in fact ameliorate the abuses and resultant increase in operating costs for California employers over the last 20 years.  In the meantime, it is important that employers continue to remain vigilant with up to date, compliant policies and practices and ensure your teams are trained on those policies.

Epps & Coulson, LLP maintains a staff of dedicated professionals who carefully monitor federal and state legislation.  We are available to help you navigate all your employment matters to ensure compliance.  Contact Dawn Coulson at: for any questions you may have.

 Information contained in this Memo is intended for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice or opinion, nor is it a substitute for the professional judgment of an attorney.  It is likely considered advertising.  Epps & Coulson, LLP encourages you to call to discuss these matters as they apply to you or your business.

Attorneys admitted to practice in California, New York, Colorado, Texas, and Oregon