California routinely leads the nation in wage and hour class action filings for a number of reasons. California’s wage and hour laws provide a broader range of rights for employees than federal law or the laws of other states. In addition, California’s Labor Code generally allows a successful employee to recover attorneys’ fees, whereas a successful employer is not able to recover fees from the employee.
California also has a unique enforcement mechanism for alleged labor code violations—the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (PAGA), which allows employees a private right of action to collect penalties against their current or former employers.
Where the Labor Code does not specifically provide for a civil penalty, PAGA creates one. These penalties, which can be collected for each employee for each pay period in which the employee worked within the statutory period, can add up very quickly. PAGA also provides for an award of the employee attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in litigation. This incentivizes plaintiffs’ attorneys to bring such claims.
Depth and Experience
Because of California’s complex rules governing the workplace, a very aggressive plaintiffs’ bar, numerous class actions, and the unique incentive for more collective litigation through the PAGA mechanism, Ogletree Deakins has assembled a team of experienced thought leaders dedicated to defending employers in these cases. The California Class Action and PAGA Practice Group is comprised of practitioners with extensive class and PAGA action litigation experience, who have successfully handled class action and PAGA cases through California’s trial and appellate courts. In addition to successfully handling class and PAGA litigation, attorneys in Ogletree Deakins’ California Class Action and PAGA Practice Group routinely work with employer organizations to help identify and correct potential issues before they lead to costly class or representative action litigation.
Ogletree Deakins’ California Class Action and PAGA Practice Group provides employers creative and practical class action and PAGA defense strategies taking into account a company’s litigation, financial, and business objectives. Additionally, Ogletree Deakins attorneys can provide the following, among other services:
- Evaluation of the merits of underlying class or PAGA claims
- Assessment of the likelihood of class certification
- Assessment that a PAGA action can proceed under manageability standards
- Preparation of potential and realistic exposure analyses
- Analysis of how to best position a company for wage and hour litigation
- Development of successful defense strategies for pending and future litigation
- Oversight of wage and hour audits to review and assess an employer’s practices and procedures and analysis of recommended strategies to help manage litigation risks.
Communication is a vital part of serving the legal needs of our clients. We regularly update clients on the status of their matters and are available for consultation at every step of the decision-making process. This participative practice style promotes information-driven decision-making and helps to build strong and lasting relationships based on timeliness, responsiveness, quality, and value.
Our firm has been a leader in offering value-based billing for clients. We work closely with our clients to develop fee arrangements that are tailored to their needs and interests. We are happy to discuss the nature of any and all alternative fee agreements that are of interest to our clients.